Update: Starbucks has issued a statement to Motherboard clarifying that it will not be accepting Bitcoin directly. Instead, it will facilitate the conversion of Bitcoin into US dollars which customers can then spend at Starbucks.
A new startup created by one of the biggest financial institutions on Wall Street aims to bring Bitcoin to Starbucks and introduce a groundbreaking new cryptocurrency futures contract.
Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), owner of the New York Stock Exchange and some of the largest futures markets, says it’s launching a startup called Bakkt in collaboration with tech giant Microsoft. Bakkt is designed to create a regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets.
As reported by Bloomberg, the new company aims to “introduce a one-day futures contract in November that differs from derivatives already offered by U.S. competitors CME Group Inc. and Cboe Global Markets Inc. because it’s physically delivered, meaning owners of the contract will get Bitcoin, not cash, upon expiration.”
The futures contract will first need to be approved by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the regulatory agency for futures and option markets.
The startup’s plans for the retail sector are just as bold. Bakkt will allow Starbucks customers to spend Bitcoin on Frappuccinos, White Chocolate Mochas and everything in between.
The move is designed to integrate Bitcoin into everyday life, making it a mainstream payment option on a nationwide scale at a top retailer. Its implementation aims to establish Bitcoin as a currency that functions like money, silencing detractors who point out Bitcoin’s limited role as a payment method.
“As the flagship retailer, Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into US dollars for use at Starbucks,” said Maria Smith, Vice President, Partnerships and Payments for Starbucks. “As a leader in Mobile Pay to our more than 15 million Starbucks Rewards members, Starbucks is committed to innovation for expanding payment options for our customers.”
Bakkt is planning to tap into the huge Millennial audience that is driving the digital economy. By making Bitcoin available for new investors who are just building up their 401(k)s, Bakkt could simultaneously bring liquidity and security to the market, driving down Bitcoin’s infamous volatility.
Bakkt is looking to launch its new futures in November. As for Starbucks, there is no firm date on Bitcoin’s arrival.