Cryptocurrency enthusiasts could soon be able to pay for Starbucks offerings using Bitcoin, according to a report from CNBC. The coffee icon has partnered with Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Microsoft, and others to collaborate on a new global digital assets platform that will facilitate consumer cryptocurrency transactions.
Intercontinental Exchange announced the partnership on Friday in a press release that revealed the NYSE-operator’s plans to create a company called Bakkt. That company will be tasked with creating a Microsoft cloud-based platform and ecosystem to manage digital assets across a “seamless global network.” The press release confirmed that the initial focus will be on Bitcoin trading and conversion, due to its status as the “most liquid digital currency.”
According to ICE, the goal is to create a company and platform that supports digital currency transactions while helping cryptocurrency markets to develop and grow in a more secure and efficient way. The new ecosystem will reportedly include “federally regulated markets and warehousing along with merchant and consumer applications.”
Starbucks Vice President of Partnerships and Payments Maria Smith explained why her company was taking an active role in bringing cryptocurrency payments to consumers:
“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. 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.”
The announcement claimed that consumers and others could use the new global network to “buy, sell, store and spend” Bitcoin as soon as November 2018. Intercontinental Exchange confirmed that the company will provide more details about the project as it progresses.
For Starbucks customers who want to pay with Bitcoin, the new platform will be designed to automatically convert their cryptocurrency into dollars during the purchase process. While that may not sound like the “mass adoption” many crypto enthusiasts have been anticipating, BKCM founder Brian Kelly suggested that it’s a positive development:
"It's very big news for bitcoin because people say, 'Where can you spend it?' Now at every single Starbucks. Starbucks is seeing some kind of demand for acceptance of crypto and bitcoin, and to tie up with a huge regulated institution like the ICE is really positive for the space."