Owner of NYSE’s Bakkt Takes Bitcoin to 401(k) Retirement Funds, Retail Crypto Credit Cards Next Up
Bitcoin supporters would really like to see the famous cryptocurrency as a mainstream currency around the world. This is the main idea of a startup that will be launched to the market in the near future. However, this startup is backed from one of the most important companies in America.
We are talking about the Intercontinental Exchange – also known as ICE. The company owns the New York Stock Exchange and other important marketplaces around the world. The new company is going to be called Bakkt and is expected to launch in November 2018.
Bakkt will be a U.S. regulated market for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. But the main intention is to transform Bitcoin into a trusted global currency with broad usage in many different areas.
In order to do so, the ICE will be partnering with important companies in many different fields and industries such as Microsoft, Boston Consulting Group and Starbucks. Until now, the total amount of funds that are going to be invested have not been mentioned.
As mentioned before, Bakkt aims to make Bitcoin a secure offering for financial institutions. In the past these wealthy investors were reluctant to invest in the market, but the situation is different now. There are companies and enterprises that want to clear the way and allow Bitcoin mutual funds, pension funds, and other kinds of investments.
But another important step for Bitcoin’s adoption may be related to credit cards powered by cryptocurrencies.
Kelly Loeffler, ICE’s head of digital assets and future CEO of Bakkt, explained:
“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.”
During an interview with Fortune, Loeffler explained that the ICE exchange and its partners have been working in order to build ‘the factory’ that will be powering Bakkt’s platform.
If the Bakkt exchange works as it was planned, an important number of Bitcoin-related funds would enter the cryptocurrency market. Wall Street could then attract more investors into Bitcoin and generate an important institutional buying and selling.
In the past, volatility in the crypto market has attracted speculators but scared off institutional funds.
If Bakkt is able to crack the 401(k) and the IRA market, that would be an important win for the market and the new platform. However, this is not everything what the Bakkt is trying to achieve. It also wants to streamline and disrupt the world of retail payments.
The main intention is to use Bitcoin to disrupt the world of retail payments. This is not an easy task, but the intention is to move consumers from swiping credit cards to scanning Bitcoin apps. This is quite important because users are paying important sums of money on fees on over $25 trillion dollars year in annual purchases.
AT the moment, the institutional investor campaign is the first of two phases. As Microsoft and Starbucks are working close to Bakkt, it will be possible to revolutionize the way in which customers pay using their smartphones.
Maria Smith, vice president, Partnerships and Payments for Starbucks, commented about it:
“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.”
Bakkt was an idea of Jeff Sprecher, chairman and CEO of the Intercontinental Exchange. He has been working in order to revolutionize how world’s exchanges work. Currently, the ICE is the second largest owner of financial exchanges according to their revenue. The first largest is the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).
ICE has twelve exchanges that are served by six clearing houses. In 2017, ICE reported revenues of $4.6 billion dollars.
The NYSE is the world’s largest stock market trading over 1.5 shares a day. Additionally, ICE owns NYSE American, a leading platform for mid-cap companies, and it also owns Acra. That shows that the ICE is an important company in the field that has presence in different industries and sectors.
Now, Sprecher is working hard in order for traders to love Bitcoin. Traders that work with institutions and that haven’t invested in cryptocurrencies before.
Bakkt could provide the necessary tools that Bitcoin requires in order to achieve broad acceptance. Sprecher explains that Loeffler has been working hard to planify ICE’s next move.