NYSE’s Owner Launches a New Bitcoin Initiative – Bakkt

Bitcoin might have received one of its biggest endorsements and votes of confidence ever, and from quite a surprising place – the owner of the prestigious New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Intercontinental Exchange.

Intercontinental Exchange announced on August 3 that in a mere few months period it will launch “an integrated platform that enables consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets on a seamless global network.” This ambitious mission will be executed by a new company called Bakkt, and it will utilize Microsoft cloud solutions; in addition to Microsoft, other partners of the project include Starbucks and BCG. Bakkt will basically be designed to better connect traditional investors and consumers – who are not habitually exposed to cryptocurrencies – with Bitcoin and Bitcoin-related services.

From the official announcement:

The Bakkt ecosystem is expected to include federally regulated markets and warehousing along with merchant and consumer applications. Its first use cases will be for trading and conversion of Bitcoin versus fiat currencies, as Bitcoin is today the most liquid digital currency. The effort is designed to address evolving needs in the estimated $270 billion digital asset marketplace.

In essence, Intercontinental Exchange aims to push Bitcoin into the heartland of the mainstream traditional financial world and also to assist merchants and consumers use Bitcoin. Most importantly, however, this move can build up support and trust of both conventional investors and simple customers in Bitcoin, which in turn can result in significant reduction of the current rampant volatility of the BTC price.

Kelly Loeffler, the former Chief Communications and Marketing Officer of Intercontinental Exchange, will lead Bakkt as CEO. On Bakkt’s blog, she elaborates a little more about this new endeavor’s goals and operations:

By combining regulated infrastructure with institutional and consumer applications, we’ll apply our track record of bringing transparency and trust to previously unregulated markets. In this way, we intend to play a key role in boosting institutional, merchant and consumer participation in digital assets.

Indeed, if there’s something that cryptocurrencies need in order to establish mass adoption is more transparency and trust in what many perceive as an utterly unregulated (and unruly) market.

In spite of this remarkable announcement, which truly has the potential of pushing Bitcoin to much higher heights, it doesn’t seem that crypto-investors were much impressed. BTC price has dropped to a little below $7,000 today (August 5), continuing its plunge from around $8,400 in late July. Ironically, this kind of wild instability for no obvious reason and against any plausible logic is precisely what ventures such as Bakkt are supposed to mitigate. Coming November, we’ll see if Bakkt shall hold some soothing impact on Bitcoin or the prevailing roller coaster’s ride will persist.