The operator of New York Stock Exchange, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced on Friday that it will be creating its own cryptocurrency exchange platform in a partnership with Microsoft, Starbucks, and BCG.
ICE in collaboration with these big shots will launch a futures exchange for virtual assets that will go by the name – Bakkt – and will be inaugurated by the first regulated physically-settled Bitcoin futures contract in November. CBoe Global Markets and CME Group, which have a significant presence in the Futures Market, already offer Bitcoin futures contracts, but these transactions are settled with cash.
But, the Bakkt operations under ICE will be transacted with cryptocurrencies in place of cash. This will provide the customers with direct access to digital assets and will transfer actual bitcoins in their wallet. The development also tends to lessen the anxiety over the fear of manipulation involved in the cash- related transactions.
The involvement of ICE will also reduce the reluctance of institutional investors like endowment, pensions and insurance companies, to give Bitcoin a shot. Moreover, it has been continuously reported that a lack of respected and regulated custodian backing Bitcoin has resulted in the institutional investors averting the digital currency.
Jeffrey C. Sprecher, the chairman of Intercontinental Exchange was quoted saying, “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.”
Sprecher and the CEO of Bakkt, Kelly Loeffler enthusiastically discussed their ambitions regarding Bakkt in an interview. Here, they spoke of their “omnibus ledger” which apparently is superior to even the Bitcoin Blockchain. The possibility of bitcoin becoming the legitimate asset for international payments among institutions connected to the Bakkt ledger after being aided by ICE was also asserted.
”Bitcoin would greatly simplify the movement of global money,” Sprecher claimed. “It has the potential to become the first worldwide currency.”
As of now, Bakkt’s objective to expand the area of Bitcoin usage. This is where the role of the partner Starbucks comes in. the coffee giant will enable its customers to convert their Bitcoin holdings into US dollars and pay for their products.
“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,” said Vice President for Payments and Partnerships at Starbucks, Maria Smith.
Bitcoin’s price saw an average fall after the announcement as it hit the $7282 level after touching the high of $7503.