Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, announced that it plans to launch a digital assets platform and a bitcoin futures ability.
The platform, called Bakkt, will leverage Microsoft’s cloud to construct “an open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets”. Effectively, it will allow consumers and institutions to trade, store, and spend digital assets over a worldwide network, thereby creating an unprecedented digital global economy.
ICE also plans to offer a landmark one-day “physical” bitcoin futures contract in which bitcoin is actually delivered on a specified date, unlike other offerings that are settled with cash. ICE claims the product will be ready for market in November, pending U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) approval.
The company would like to see the regulated venues create new protocols for managing “the specific security and settlement requirements” of cryptocurrencies.
The firm adds that first-rate companies like BCG, Microsoft, and Starbucks are consulting ICE on risk management and consumer experience.
Starbucks will be tasked to create “practical, trusted and regulated” applications for consumers to convert digital assets into US dollars for use at the firm’s outlets.
Jeffrey Sprecher, the founder, and chairman of ICE said in the release:
“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.”
“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.
The release also indicates that M12, Microsoft’s Venture Capital arm, Galaxy Digital, Horizons Ventures, Alan Howard and Pantera Capital are among the firms who have either invested in or are expected invest in, the project.
Bakkt will be at the forefront of institutional digital asset exchange, allowing for mountains of capital to flow into the cryptocurrency market in a secure, highly liquid, and user-friendly manner. Futures contracts using actual bitcoin and a scalable on-ramp for institutional investors were once the content of daydreams for tech geeks all over the world, but now we could be looking at much more than just futures and a platform. We could be looking at the New York Stock Exchange of cryptocurrencies. Bakkt could potentially be a global hub for digital asset trading that would revolutionize the cryptocurrency landscape.