Showing posts with label bakkt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bakkt. Show all posts

EXCLUSIVE: Bakkt Crypto Project Will Launch With Starbucks!

Bakkt app and retail services
There's always been a lot of hype around Bakkt, starting from the announcement that the company behind the New York Stock Exchange was teaming up with Starbucks and Microsoft to form a company completely revolving around crypto.

Since their launch they even managed to exceed expectations, but they also have a lot in the works being built away from the spotlight.

A source who would know (that's as descriptive as they're allowing me be) was able to give an update on some of what Bakkt has been working on behind closed doors.

They're attempting to tackle some of crypto's top issues - adoption, and real world use. 

They'll be doing it with products intended for both sides of a transaction, my source explained:

"For the everyday person there's going to be an app for iOS and Android, with this you can buy select cryptocurrencies, or use it as wallet and simply deposit cryptocurrency obtained elsewhere. But this wallet isn't going to be marketed as 'storage' like others - this wallet is where you put the crypto you want to spend."

So with the wallet for the customer, next comes the merchant...

"The other half of will be the merchant services. The goal here is for any business to be able to implement this without any learning curve.  Any business that currently takes Apple Pay or Samsung Pay - their employees already know everything they need to know." 

Others have attempted similar - so what's different about Bakkt's solution?

There's dozens of companies currently trying to be the one to bring crypto to the real world, but Bakkt believes they're the first who actually can.

That's because funds available in the app will be guaranteed by Bakkt, and they believe their promises carry clout that other startups simply do not.

As we've all experienced, sometimes transactions can take longer than we want, and WAY longer than you'd want to stand at the counter of a business awkwardly waiting for it to clear.

But any funds sent via the app will clear instantly, at least as far as the merchant and customer is concerned - even if the actual transaction on the blockchain lags behind.

"Bakkt basically pays for it, then gets reimbursed a couple minutes later when the crypto transfer is complete" my source explained.

Merchants will have the option to have the transaction deposited to them as USD, or keep it in crypto.  Which is another huge point as crypto's volatility can scare some businesses away from using it, but the ones using Bakkt's merchant solution can rest easy knowing they'll receive the exact amount they charged, in USD, even if the customer paid in crypto.

Launching With A Retail Powerhouse -  Starbucks!

Possibly Bakkt's biggest advantage - Starbucks will be giving these products a massive jump start as the first business you'll be able to pay with crypto at using the Bakkt wallet.

This isn't just a way to get a lot of people to download the wallet, it's a selling point that will convince a lot of merchants, as my source explained:

"Any merchant on the fence will be convinced when they hear Starbucks trusts this tech at their thousands of locations.  There's always one nearby, so we can encourage them to simply try it themselves. Once they try it themselves they will see, there's no good reason not to implement it."

Bakkt aims to have everything ready to go in the first half of 2020, followed by plans to roll out additional features like rewards that encourage continued usage and growth.

Author: Ross Davis
E-Mail: Twitter:@RossFM

San Francisco News Desk

The world's richest cryptocurrency believer you probably never heard of, and his 3rd big investment in it's future...

Li Ka-shing is his name, and his story is an impressive one.  After his fathers death at 15 years old, he left school and went straight to the workforce to help his family, that's where he found a job in a plastics trading company - then started his own. 

It was a success, and using those funds he started a lending company that grew large enough to get listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.  With those funds he expanded into an electrical company,  bought out investment holding firm Hutchison Whampoa.

But the company really worth watching is Horizons Ventures. The only thing Horizons Ventures invests in cutting edge tech Li Ka-shing himself personally selects. This is what sets him aside from possible rivals for the title of 'world's richest cryptocurrency believer'.  These investments are his own - not a board of directors playing with other people's money.

So far his selections have been impressive to say the least, and include DeepMind before Google bought them, and Siri before Apple bought them.

His track record makes it easy to make the case that him seeing a future in cryptocurrency really means something. Those who disagree should ask themselves - what does Ka-shing see that they don't? Because the problem probably isn't that they're smarter than he is.

This belief isn't new either, he invested in Bitpay back in 2013, and Blockstream in 2016.

However, after 2018's bear market whenever I see a company mention their big-name investors who invested in prior years, I wonder 'do they still believe? or have they been scared off'?

He's now answered that question - he's still in, so far it seems like they all are.  Generally speaking it takes more than 1 bad year to scare off a seasoned investor. In Ka-shing's case it shouldn't be too much of a surprise, Bitcoin was about $85 when it first caught his eye.

This all came to light as cryptocurrency company Bakkt, backed by the New York Stock Exchange, Microsoft, and Starbucks, released the names of 12 of the major investors who took part in their series-A funding which raised $182 million.

Among the "investors who, like us, believe in the future of digital assets" Bakkt shared, was Li Ka-Shingm's Horizons Ventures.

It's way too early to guess how his investment will pay off, currently Bakkt is on hold, pending approval from regulators.  This was expected, just part of the process of launching a service like this.

Bakkt hopes to be the key to unlocking the door to world's largest investors participating in the cryptocurrency market.  To do so, they first are undertaking becoming legal custodians of cryptocurrencies, similar to how banks that are licensed to hold fiat can assure customers that their funds are safe.

They are expecting to get approval 'early 2019' so it could be any day, or a couple months away.

Ka-shing is officially retired from running his companies, with his son replacing him as CEO. He still sits on the board of directors in a more 'advisory' role, and still is behind all of the investment choices of Horizons Ventures.
Author: Adam Lee 
Asia News Desk

BREAKING: The Starbucks, NYSE, Microsoft cryptocurrency venture will launch before the end of THIS YEAR!

Just a couple months ago we covered the announcement of the formation of a new company called "Bakkt" - to catch up on that, read our article 'What to expect from the New York Stock Exchange, Microsoft, and Starbucks cryptocurrency alliance' here - and it appears they're moving fast, putting those plans into motion.

Today, according to a press release that was just put out by the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange - we have a launch date!

"ICE Futures U.S., Inc. will list the new Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract for trading on Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract is a physically-settled daily futures contract for bitcoin held in Bakkt LLC, ICE’s Digital Asset Warehouse, and will be cleared by ICE Clear US, Inc. Each futures contract calls for delivery of one bitcoin held in the Bakkt Digital Asset Warehouse, and will trade in U.S. dollar terms. One daily contract will be listed for trading each Exchange Business Day"

This is the first of several services they plan to eventually offer. 

The full press release is available here.

Author: Ross Davis
E-Mail: Twitter:@RossFM
San Francisco News Desk

We've just learned the first product the NYSE, Microsoft, and Starbucks crypto venture Bakkt will offer...

Early last month I covered the announcement of the new cryptocurrency venture called "Bakkt", a company launched by the New York Stock Exchange, Microsoft, and Starbucks.

Today, we're learning about the first product they will offer - Bitcoin futures, with a twist.  The company tweeted:

"Our first contracts will be physically delivered Bitcoin futures contracts versus fiat currencies, including USD, GBP and EUR. For example, buying one USD/BTC futures contract will result in daily delivery of one Bitcoin into the customer’s account."

To understand why they would be physically delivering something that represents a virtual asset such as Bitcoin, you need to understand the very complex legal framework of 'custody'.  The issue is something that's held Wall Street back from offering cryptocurrency investments, until a solution that meets legal compliance is created.

I explained it this way last week covering a company that believes they have a custody solution.

"When it comes to traditional markets, very few investors actually sit upon stacks of stock certificates to prove what they own - and they don't want to. Their brokerage firm does all that, and will want them to do the same for their crypto assets.

So, the 30 second version is: there's laws surrounding the storage of any valuable assets.  How to do this in a way that would allow major Wall Street investment houses to offer cryptocurrencies to their clients, while at the same time meeting all the legal requirements surrounding custody, has been a massive challenge."

Basically - for now Bakkt has has decided to use a method where none of this is a concern.  Waiving any need for custody compliance by creating a physical asset that represents Bitcoin, and then delivering it daily to their customers - so the entire issue of custody is in the hands of the client.

A creative solution, for now. But the race is on to develop an SEC approved method of custody for cryptocurrency assets, and once this exists I expect Bakkt's daily delivery method to be replaced.

Author: Ross Davis
E-Mail: Twitter:@RossFM
San Francisco News Desk