ICE of NYSE Fame to Launch Bakkt Crypto Trading Platform

ICE of NYSE Fame to Launch Bakkt Crypto Trading Platform

Big adoption news today, August 3rd, as Intercontinental Exchange Inc., the owner-operators of the New York Stock Exchange, have declared they will be creating a cryptocurrency trading platform dubbed Bakkt. Accordingly, ICE is joining forces with powerhouse companies like Microsoft and Starbucks in a move that could make digital-asset commerce more liquid than ever.

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‘On-Ramp for Institutional, Merchant and Consumer Participation’ in Crypto

ICE, who currently operates more than 20 high-volume traditional exchanges across the globe, is officially gunning to add a cryptocurrency market to that list. The company, perhaps best known for its ownership of the NYSE, announced on Friday that it would be launching the new crypto-centric Bakkt at an as-yet determined date.

Like Coinbase, Bakkt will allow consumers and institutions to trade top cryptocurrencies against fiat. ICE said the platform will be at the heart of their push to foster an international and regulated cryptoeconomy, a fledgling digital market that reached its current capitalization peak of over $800 billion USD in January 2018. For comparison, ICE’s NYSE has a market cap of more than $23 trillion presently. ICE CEO Jeffrey Sprecher noted the plan was “consistent with our track record of bringing transparency and trust to previously unregulated markets.”

Of the mission at hand, Bakkt’s CEO Kelly Loeffler 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.”

As for the the nuts and bolts, the platform will rely on Microsoft cloud infrastructure. Interested investors reportedly include some familiar names in the space, like Pantera Capital, Susquehanna International Group, and Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital. ICE has already locked down for the project partnerships with other key heavyweights like Starbucks and “Big Three” strategy consulting firm Boston Consulting Group.

For their part, Starbucks VP Maria Smith, who focuses on partnerships, called the coffeehouse chain a “flagship” piece in the coming Bakkt ecosystem:

“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 U.S. dollars for use at Starbucks.”

Biggest Players Making Big Plans

The announcement of Bakkt comes on the heels of several major adoption overtures toward the crypto space this year.

Goldman Sachs announced a coming cryptocurrency trading desk in May 2018, and Morgan Stanley is now apparently working on the same.

Crypto’s not dying if recent institutional moves are any indication.

The leadership of NYSE competitor Nasdaq reportedly met with several traditional and cryptocurrency exchanges in mid-July to foster dialogue around maturing the cryptoeconomy. Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman also said a few weeks ago that the company is “open” to the idea of eventually becoming a digital assets market. Diving into the space is getting safer all the while for the biggest players with services like Coinbase Custody now live.

In today’s Bakkt announcement, ICE also declared its intention to create a bitcoin futures product later this year. They may have to play catch up with Nasdaq, who have been publicly looking at their own bitcoin futures product for several months now.

What’s your take? Do you think Bakkt has the chance to overtake first movers like Coinbase? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. 

Images via Pixabay

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