Bakkt Turns to Consumer Apps, Starting with Starbucks

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Bakkt, the Bitcoin-backed futures trading platform, will turn its attentions to consumer applications in the first half of 2020, with Starbucks named as a “launch partner”, seemingly confirming rumors that emerged last year that consumers would be able to spend in Starbucks directly with BTC. The news backs up rumours that surfaced back in the summer of 2018 that were initially denied and potentially clears the way for Bitcoin to break through into the mainstream.

Bakkt’s Four-pronged Attack on the Consumer Market

In a blog post explaining the next stage in Bakkt’s development, Chief Product Officer Mike Blandina stated how one of Bakkt’s core missions was ““unlocking the value of digital assets” through consumer payments”, with this vision being realized through providing a “consumer platform for managing a digital asset portfolio, whether they wish to store, transact, trade or transfer their assets.” Blandina then goes on to detail the four pathways that Bakkt are exploring in order to achieve this, which amount to making the use of cryptocurrencies more practical, streamlined, secure, and owner controlled. The real Easter egg however comes towards the end of the post:

Over the last year, we’ve assembled a strong team of payments engineers and are nearing completion of our core payments and compliance platform. We’re now focused on the development of the consumer app and merchant portal, as well as testing with our first launch partner, Starbucks, which we expect in the first half of next year.

What does this mean in reality? Twitter seemed to have an idea:

With details thin on the ground, hype and speculation were left to run rampant, but it doesn’t take a great leap of the imagination to think that the holy grail of the ‘Bitcoin coffee shop’ purchase might not be that far away. A Bakkt, Bitcoin, Starbucks linkup was first mooted back when it was realized that Starbucks had a financial stake in the Bakkt project, but these ideals were quickly dismissed as wishful thinking. The concept resurfaced in November last year when Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler told Consensus Invest that Bakkt was working closely with the chain to help them accept Bitcoin, and this seems to have been the reality, or soon will be.