At long last, Bakkt, the cryptocurrency initiative of the New York Stock Exchange’s owner, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), is right on the horizon. All eyes have been focused on the startup’s Bitcoin futures vehicle.
Yet, a new report states that the company may be working on much more than futures, boding well for the development of this ecosystem.
What’s Bakkt Pay?
According to a recent report from trade publication The Block, Bakkt has just signed a former Google contractor, Chris Peterson, onto its team. The former UX consultant, according to a “person familiar with the situation”, is likely working on a digital asset wallet, dubbed “Bakkt Pay”. Earlier this year, the company made a series of hires, indicated by the “careers” section on its website. One job listing called for a mobile app developer, sparking discussion about Bakkt’s plans post-Bitcoin futures.
The Block’s sources say that following the release of the long-awaited financial vehicle, the crypto platform may launch the mobile application. Not many details were given about this product, but the outlet points out that Bakkt’s recently-updated website mentions digital payments. An excerpt from Bakkt.com reads:
“Whether between consumers and merchants or peers, the ability to conduct transactions in digital assets holds promise as a these new global currencies evolve beyond a store of value or speculative assets, and as distributed ledger technology scales. Bakkt is working with leading merchants who recognize the potential of digital assets.”
This news comes months after The Block broke the news that contrary to skepticism, Bakkt is actually working closely with Starbucks, one of the world’s largest restaurant chains. Per their source, the coffee giant has managed to secure a substantial stake in Bakkt in return for “commitment to allow Bitcoin payments in store in 2019”.
Bakkt’s software, likely Bakkt Pay, will purportedly facilitate these payments, which will be instantly converted from cryptocurrencies into fiat currencies. So, Starbucks will be taking no direct risk, to ensure it will be keeping its balance sheets clear of this budding asset class.
If this news turns out to be true, Starbucks will join a list of corporate giants, both in Silicon Valley and abroad, that now accept Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. This list includes AT&T, Nordstrom, Whole Foods, Gamestop, and Microsoft. It is clear that at long last, the widespread adoption of digital assets may just be on the brink of coming to fruition.
Bitcoin Futures on the Horizon
As hinted at earlier, The Block’s latest bombshell about Bakkt drops amid the reveal that the startup’s physically-backed Bitcoin futures contract is soon slated to be released to a group of beta testers.
Per previous reports from Blockonomi, Bakkt will begin a “user acceptance testing” phase of its project on July 22nd — two days after Apollo 11th’s 50th anniversary. This comes after months and months of hype, let-downs, and hype once again about the effect this product could have on institutional and retail involvement in Bitcoin investing.
You see, for the longest time, the company struggled to secure approval from the crypto-friendly Commodity Futures Trading Commission, who purportedly cited concerns with security. In fact, the ongoing turmoil between the cryptocurrency exchange and regulators led to a number of delays, as the future was supposed to launch late last year. Anyhow, this latest tease implies Bakkt finally got the green light.
To custody the Bitcoin backing these contracts, Bakkt has purportedly partnered with Wall Street bank BNY Mellon and acquired a digital asset custodian, accentuating that it means business. And business Bakkt means. Just as its chief operating officer Adam White wrote:
Bakkt may be a form of moonshot, but it’s grounded in an earthbound endeavor to support the future of finance and the adoption of blockchain technology. In its own way, Bakkt’s efforts to help institutions launch safely into this market is the right stuff for the future.