Intercontinental Exchange, the global exchange operator announced today that it plans to form a new company, Bakkt, which intends to leverage Microsoft cloud solutions to create an open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets.
The new company is working with a group of organizations including BCG, Microsoft, Starbucks, and others, to create an integrated platform that enables consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets on a seamless global network.
Currently preparing for launch, Bakkt will announce further operational details in the coming weeks.
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.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”Jeffrey C. Sprecher, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“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.”[/perfectpullquote]
As an initial component of the Bakkt offering, Intercontinental Exchange’s U.S.-based futures exchange and clearinghouse plan to launch a 1-day physically delivered Bitcoin contract along with physical warehousing in November 2018, subject to CFTC review and approval.
These regulated venues will establish new protocols for managing the specific security and settlement requirements of digital currencies. In addition, the clearinghouse plans to create a separate guarantee fund that will be funded by Bakkt.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”Kelly Loeffler, CEO of Bakkt” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“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. We are collaborating to build an open platform that helps unlock the transformative potential of digital assets across global markets and commerce.”[/perfectpullquote]
In addition to Intercontinental Exchange and M12, Microsoft’s venture capital arm, investors in Bakkt are expected to include, among others, an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group, Eagle Seven, Galaxy Digital, Horizons Ventures, Alan Howard, Pantera Capital, Protocol Ventures, and Susquehanna International Group, LLP.