- The Bakkt App has launched, allowing consumers to spend their crypto in a variety of ways
- The Bakkt App will compete with offerings from PayPal and Visa, with more to come
- Plenty of consumer crypto solutions have been tried, but none have succeeded in winning over the public…yet
The launch of a consumer app by Bakkt on Tuesday means that numerous competing apps are available or at least being tested as the push for consumer adoption of cryptocurrencies hots up. The Bakkt App allows cryptocurrency holders on its platform to manage and spend their coins, with more than 75 major brands offering discounted gift cards through the app. This offering appears to be competition for Visa and PayPal, who each launched their own consumer spending apps this week.
Bakkt App Promised for Two and a Half Years
Bakkt has been promising a consumer app since October 2019, and given that the platform itself was massively delayed, it’s no surprise that we’ve had to wait 18 months for the consumer app. One of the big draws for Bakkt when it was first announced in August 2018 was that it was financed in part by Starbucks, with an in-store payment deal also mentioned in documents.
That payment option is now here, and while it doesn’t allow direct payment in bitcoin, those with a Starbucks Card can now manage their balance through Bakkt, so they’ve achieved it in a roundabout way. It’s not the cleanest implementation of bitcoin spending, but the addition of a whole range of gift cards, discounts on major brands, and other ways of maximizing crypto holdings on the platform could give it an edge in terms of variety.
Competition Hots Up
The Bakkt App is now in competition with Visa’s partnership with Crypto.com, who launched a pilot program last week that will see USDC holders able to natively spend their USDC through Visa-accepting merchants. And then of course there’s PayPal, who opened the door to 26 million merchants on Monday when they allowed crypto users to spend any of the five supported coins with them (providing they cash out first).
At this point it’s too early to say which platform offers the best overall service, especially as all of them are in the early stages of rollout, and more competitors coming down the line. While the Bakkt App grabs the headlines thanks to Starbucks, we are most excited however by the Visa offering as this, if expanded to other cryptocurrencies, could offer the most frictionless crypto spending experience.