The Intercontinental Exchange (known as ICE), which owns and operates the New York Stock Exchange (among many other exchanges around the world), has announced a new company that will provide a platform for digital assets like bitcoin. According to the press release, the project–called Bakkt–is already working with companies like Microsoft, Starbucks, and BCG to “create an integrated platform that enables consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets on a seamless global network.”
Though Bakkt is intended for multiple digital assets, the company says its first use case will focus on bitcoin, by building a platform for trading and converting the cryptocurrency. It seems the point of Bakkt is to create a program that allows larger businesses to easily transact with these digital currencies. That said, given the always-fluctuating price of bitcoin, it’s unclear how many people will want to use them to buy goods and services.
Still, this development could help cement the institutional future of the cryptocurrency. Bakkt was created by the parent company of one of the most important stock exchanges in the world, which could send signals of more widespread support. Earlier this year ICE’s chief, Jeffrey Sprecher, told Bloomberg that cryptocurrency trading is a “trend we can’t ignore.” He was probably already working on Bakkt when saying this.
According to Coindesk, the price of bitcoin is down about 2%, at around $7,383. We’ll see if it goes up once this news becomes more widespread.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of Intercontinental Exchange. We regret the error.