World’s largest stock exchange operator, Intercontinental Exchange, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has confirmed that it will launch a physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts and establish a new company meant to make bitcoin a mainstream financial asset.
ICE made the big announcement on Friday, announcing that a new platform, Bakkt, has been created in partnership with a couple of big names, such as Microsoft, Starbucks, and BCG.
Bakkt will join forces with the ICE’s U.S. futures market and clearinghouse to list a physically-settled one-day bitcoin futures product, backed with physical warehousing managed in-house by ICE. This product will go public in November, waiting for regulatory approval.
“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,” said Kelly Loeffler, CEO of Bakkt. “We are collaborating to build an open platform that helps unlock the transformative potential of digital assets across global markets and commerce.”
Yet, in contrast to a bitcoin futures exchange, Bakkt I expected to be a full-fledged platform that aids digital assets to develop into a mainstream financial asset class.
“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,” said Jeffrey C. Sprecher, founder, chairman, and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange.
As a matter of fact, Sprecher and Loeffler gave details of their aspiring plans for Bakkt, stating that the platform will feature its individual “omnibus ledger” that runs on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, which is the same as the Lightning Network (LN).
They expect that the help of ICE, bitcoin can turn out to be a bona fide currency.
”Bitcoin would greatly simplify the movement of global money,” Sprecher told the publication. “It has the potential to become the first worldwide currency.”
In line with his, Bakkt is seeking various ways to boost bitcoin’s usage as a payment instrument. The announcement states that Starbucks will play an active role in offering users with the opportunity to smoothly change their holdings into USD so they can be used to pay for items at Starbucks locations.
“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 Maria Smith, Vice President, Partnerships, and Payments for 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.”
However, ICE is confident that it will be responsible for taking bitcoin mainstream adding that reality will possibly be different from the crypto-anarchist expectation held by many early cryptocurrency users.
“Bitcoin can’t survive as a rogue idea,” Sprecher said in the Fortune profile. “To evolve, the cryptocurrencies need to run on established infrastructure. They need the trust and rules that have been built into our financial system for many years. They need the kind of trust that the Big Board represents.”