Starbucks has suddenly turned out to be the talk-of-the-town in the cryptocurrency industry after a report last Friday, which suggested that the coffee-retail giant has collaborated with NYSE parent Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) for launching a new Bakkt platform. Last Friday, ICE announced the launch of a new platform called Bakkt which makes its easy for cryptocurrency enthusiasts spend their digital currency holdings.
The Bakkt platform will operate completely under the regulatory purview of the authorities and will be sort of a licensed warehouse for storing digital assets. However, Starbucks’ involvement in the Bakkt has been misjudged by a lot, including major publications like Bloomberg and CNBC, which were found giving misleading headlines that indicated that Starbucks’ customers could purchase coffee against Bitcoin payment options.
This news spread like a wild-fire after making the coffee retail giant intervene issuing a statement to bring clarity in this matter. A Starbucks spokesperson told Motherboard that the company is not willing to accept Bitcoin or other digital assets as payments directly, but instead will help their customers to convert them into U.S. Dollar and later spend them on their outlets. The spokesperson clearly noted that the company’s involvement is limited to consulting and developing applications which help its customers to convert their digital holdings into fiat currencies.
The Starbucks spokesperson wrote:
“It is important to clarify that we are not accepting digital assets at Starbucks. Rather the exchange will convert digital assets like Bitcoin into US dollars, which can be used at Starbucks. At the current time, we are announcing the launch of trading and conversion of Bitcoin. However, we will continue to talk with customers and regulators as the space evolves. Customers will not be able to pay for Frappuccinos with bitcoin.”
Although Starbucks Vice President had clearly specified the company’s role, too much was read into it. Maria Smith, Vice President, Partnerships and Payments for Starbucks, said:
“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. 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.”
The launch of the Bakkt platform, and, which is more importantly, by ICE, is said to be a game changer in driving institutional players to the crypto market that will increase the chances of the launch of investment products like Bitcoin ETF. Brian Kelly, the founder of BK Capital Management, has expressed a lot of optimism over this news.
Bakkt platform is expected to be launched by November 2018.