By creating a federally-regulated crypto ecosystem, industry giants aim to make bitcoin a trusted global currency Bitcoin is no stranger to the endorsement of industry giants, attracting the support of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel, and former hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz. But the most resounding endorsement yet comes from a slightly more obscure financial titan—Jeff Specher, the Chairman of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) which owns the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and many other exchanges internationally.  Bakkt—a play on the word ‘backed’ from the phrase ‘asset-backed securities’—is Specher’s latest venture, and aims to achieve nothing short of making bitcoin a trusted global currency by creating a federally-regulated crypto ecosystem.

This vision is supported by Microsoft, who will lend its cloud expertise; Starbucks, which will help pioneer mobile payment, and the Boston Consulting Group, who will assist ICE in forming the new company—an all-in-one bitcoin exchange for trading, custody and delivery, that will use  ICE’s existing trading infrastructure to cater to retail investors, institutional investors and consumers. With the full force of these industry leaders behind them, the launch is planned for November,  after fourteen months of behind the scenes preparation by founder Specher and his wife Kelly Loeffler, who is Bakkt CEO.

By providing an approved custody solution combined with a regulated exchange, Bakkt propose to make settlement, storage and delivery of bitcoin as simple as it is for stocks. This could mean that as soon as November, fund managers will be able to buy and hold bitcoin for their clients.

For retail investors, this will significantly broaden the scope of bitcoin investment choices—allowing baby boomers to put bitcoin in their 401k with insurance against hacks or failures, and paving the way towards a range of different bitcoin-backed ETFs or mutual funds. For institutional investors, Bakkt plans to provide a fully regulated onramp, which will combine a major CFTC-regulated exchange with CFTC-regulated clearing and custody.

Although this is still pending approval from the commission and other regulatory bodies. “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,” said Kelly Loeffler, CEO of Bakkt. Read more from…

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