The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange and the Bitcoin platform Bakkt, says it plans to revolutionize the digital asset industry by bringing BTC and crypto payments into the mainstream.
ICE stated that it intends to acquire Bridge2 Solutions, a platform that promotes loyalty and engagement between brands and consumers. Bakkt will use Bridge2 to accelerate the development of a consumer payment app that converts and processes crypto payments worldwide. To date, Bakkt has focused on building trust and stability in the crypto-currency trading market by introducing its Bitcoin and Futures contracts for institutional investors. Now the company says its partnership with Bridge2 Solutions enables it to transform the $1.2 trillion digital asset industry, as Bridge2 Solutions operates loyalty programs for seven of the top ten financial institutions and over 4,500 loyalty, incentive and employee compensation programs for companies across a variety of industries.
Bakkt plans to package loyalty points, crypto-currencies, gift cards, in-game digital assets and other forms of virtual rewards into a seamless interface. Bakkt chief Mike Blandina said:
“With the launch of the Bakkt app, we are providing consumers for the first time with a robust platform to consolidate and use all their digital assets, from crypto and loyalty points to in-game tokens, in one easy-to-use wallet.”
The combination of Bridge2 Solutions’ embedded relationships with banks and merchants and its innovative Loyalty Pay solution will enable us to introduce new products that further enhance loyalty and enable consumers to trade, transfer and spend digital assets in a completely new way.
So far, Bakkt has not yet released an official launch date for its app. A product roadmap is expected to be released sometime this year. Bakkt President Adam White shared information about the app in his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos. During a panel at The Block event hosted by E8 Partners in Davos on Wednesday during the World Economic Forum, White said that the Bakkt application will consider digital assets as any form of value that is digital, including crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, for consumers.
This means that the app could also support virtual goods such as loyalty points and shares. By potentially including stock trading, a portal for merchants, and a variety of other assets, the app would be more similar to a traditional Fintech product like PayPal than a crypto offering that allows merchants to accept Bitcoin.
Bakkt also offers institutional custody services, with Galaxy Digital and Tagomi among its customers. The CEO’s recent election shows that the company takes its upcoming consumer offering just as seriously (if not more seriously). Bakkt appointed Mike Blandina as its new CEO at the end of last year, replacing Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed US Senator for the State of Georgia. In fact, in an October blog post, Blandina said the company is focusing on building the consumer application and retailer portal for which Starbucks is the launch partner. On the podium, White also commented on the general state of the crypto market, noting that a “killer app” has not yet been realized.
I don’t think we’re there yet. What makes me optimistic is that we see a lot of interest from developers. I am confident that someone will find something.