Last Friday on August 3rd, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of NYSE, announced the launch of a new Bakkt platform with an aim to allow the crypto enthusiasts to spend their digital currency holdings easily. To accomplish this project successfully, ICE has collaborated with several big organizations from the tech, finance, and retail sector. To name a few, Microsoft, BCG, and Starbucks will be working with the ICE on the Bakkt platform.
Brian Kelly, founder of BK Capital Management, has turned extremely bullish after ICE’s involvement in crypto assets considering this to be the biggest news of the year. Kelly believes that ICE involvement highly increases the chance of arrival of Bitcoin ETF, which has been awaited for a long time. In an interview to CNBC, Kelly said:
“This is huge news. I think the market is completely underappreciated. So let us talk about why this is the biggest news of the year for Bitcoin. It paves the way for a Bitcoin ETF. Last week I stood here and said you know what, I don’t think the Bitcoin ETF will get approved. And guess what? The Winkelvoss ETF got rejected. Why? Because there was not a US regulated exchange and there wasn’t US regulated custody.”
Kelly is so excited about the arrival of the Bakkt platform because it is supposed to be regulated and licensed warehouse for storing digital assets. Kelly believes that this would help increase confidence among investors and majorly among institutional investors increasing the chances of the arrival of Bitcoin ETF-like products. He said:
“That’s going to make it a lot easier for an ETF to come through. It is even better than Bitcoin Futures…[because] they are talking about getting this into you 401k. They are talking about getting it into your Schwab, Fidelity or TDAmeritrade account…you are going to be able to buy a Bitcoin ETF, a Bitcoin Mutual Fund. It expands the universe.”
“My conclusion is that the crypto-market is completely missing this. Perhaps the market, in general, is missing this…this is very, very big news.”
Bakkt platform is expected to be launched by November 2018. Kelly acknowledged the fact of retail giants like Starbucks being a part of the project which promotes digital spending to get them into the mainstream. While commenting on the Starbucks collaboration, Kelly said:
“Starbucks is going to allow you to take your crypto and effectively load a US Dollar card with this. We don’t have a problem with our payment in the U.S… This is more of a move forward. If you look at Starbucks history, they are really at the forefront of digital payments particularly the retail space. So to have them involved is more of a signal that this is becoming more of a mainstream.”
However, a lot of people have overheard into Starbucks involvement in the Bakkt project considering that Starbucks will allow its customers to pay for their coffee directly in Bitcoin. A company spokesperson has clarified this matter saying that it won’t accept digital currency payments directly but will instead help crypto enthusiasts to first convert their digital currency into U.S. Dollars which can be spent at their outlet.
“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,” said Starbucks spokesperson in an official email to Motherboard.