Bakkt to Launch Crypto ‘Consumer App’ in First Half of 2020


Bakkt plans to launch a consumer-facing app to help retail customers transact with cryptocurrencies, the company announced Monday.

In a blog post, Bakkt chief product officer Mike Blandina wrote that the company was working on developing an app to let consumers use digital assets when purchasing goods from merchants.

“We’ll be launching a consumer app to make it easy for consumers to discover and unlock the value of digital assets, as well as ways in which they can transact or track them. Merchants gain access to a broader set of customers with expanded spending power,” Blandina wrote.

He hinted that the app might support more than just bitcoin, which is currently the only digital asset Bakkt and its parent company Intercontinental Exchange provide futures contracts for.

“A key feature of the model we’ve designed is to support a superset of digital assets, including cryptocurrencies as seamlessly as investors transact in stocks in a retail brokerage account,” he wrote. “Our vision is to provide a consumer platform for managing a digital asset portfolio, whether they wish to store, transact, trade or transfer their assets.”

When ICE first announced Bakkt in August 2018, the company said it was partnering with Starbucks and other companies to provide a retail experience, but few details of this part of the vision have been shared since. Monday’s announcement said Starbucks will be Bakkt’s first launch partner when the app goes live sometime in the first half of 2020.

“I have strong conviction that by driving more integration and efficiency across digital wallets, transaction processing and payment acceptance, there are meaningful opportunities for merchants and consumers to seamlessly interact using digital assets in ways that have not been previously considered,” Blandina wrote, adding:

“It is often said that digital assets will be successful when consumers don’t have to think about the technology underlying them.”

Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler image via CoinDesk archives

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