Intercontinental Exchange Unveils Bakkt, a Global Platform and Ecosystem for Digital Assets
by Justin Hughes
ATLANTA & NEW YORK—Intercontinental Exchange broadcast that it is strategizing to create a new company, Bakkt, which intends to leverage Microsoft cloud solutions to form an open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets. Bakkt will collaborate with a marquee group of organizations including BCG, Microsoft, Starbucks, and others, to make an integrated platform that allows consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets on a seamless global network.
Jeffrey C. Sprecher, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, said, “In bringing regulated, connected infrastructure together with institutional and consumer applications for digital assets, we aim to build confidence in the asset class on a global scale, consistent with our track record of bringing transparency and trust to previously unregulated markets.”
The Bakkt ecosystem is predicted to include federally regulated markets and warehousing along with merchant and consumer applications. Its first use cases will be for trading and conversion of Bitcoin versus fiat currencies, as Bitcoin is the most liquid digital currency. The effort is designed to meet developing needs in the estimated $270 billion USD digital asset marketplace.
Sean Collins, Senior Partner, BCG, said, “Blockchain technology holds tremendous potential to enable new business models and trusted ecosystems. By leveraging and developing fundamental market infrastructure, the Bakkt platform will enable firms across industries to accelerate a range of innovation.”
Applications for digital currencies continue to develop alongside regulatory frameworks and rising investment in blockchain technology which, halfway through 2018, has already exceeded all of 2017, according to KPMG. By leveraging trusted market infrastructure, Bakkt is being engineered to help the digital asset markets evolve securely and efficiently while supporting transaction flows.
Kelly Loeffler, CEO of Bakkt, added, “Bakkt is designed to serve as a scalable on-ramp for institutional, merchant and consumer participation in digital assets by promoting greater efficiency, security and utility. We are collaborating to build an open platform that helps unlock the transformative potential of digital assets across global markets and commerce.”
In addition to Intercontinental Exchange and M12, Microsoft’s venture capital arm, investors in Bakkt are expected to include, among others, an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group, Eagle Seven, Galaxy Digital, Horizons Ventures, Alan Howard, Pantera Capital, Protocol Ventures, and Susquehanna International Group, LLP.
Maria Smith, Vice President, Partnerships and Payments for Starbucks, continued, “As the flagship retailer, Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into US dollars for use at Starbucks. As a leader in Mobile Pay to our more than 15 million Starbucks Rewards members, Starbucks is committed to innovation for expanding payment options for our customers.”
About Bakkt: Bakkt is designed to enable consumers and institutions to seamlessly buy, sell, store and spend digital assets. Formed with the purpose of bringing trust, efficiency and commerce to digital assets, Bakkt seeks to develop open technology to connect existing market and merchant infrastructure to the blockchain.