Intercontinental Exchange, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, made history today by announcing that it will form a new company whose mission is to make bitcoin a mainstream financial asset.

The groundbreaking announcement revealed that the financial giant will list physically settled bitcoin futures on a new platform called “Bakkt” (pronounced “backed”), which has been developed in partnership with a variety of blockbuster names, including Microsoftand Starbucks.

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING

In the past, analysts familiar with the institutional investing landscape have consistently complained about the lack of a respected, regulated custodian in the crypto-space, saying that this is the primary reason that major institutions have been staying away from bitcoin.

Well this changes everything.

Because Intercontinental Exchange is one of the biggest names in finance and will serve as custodian for all assets stored on the Bakkt platform, institutional investors such as pensions, endowments, and insurance companies should be less hesitant to put funds into bitcoin.

In other words: this finally provides a definitive pathway for institutional money to move into the market.

BITCOIN GOING MAINSTREAM

This is intended to be a full-fledged platform that helps digital assets evolve into a mainstream financial asset class. Investors include Microsoft subsidiary M12, Fortress, Susquehanna, Pantera Capital, and Galaxy Digital.

But perhaps the most exciting news is that Starbucks seems committed to taking bitcoin into the mainstream. The global chain will take an active role in providing consumers with the ability to seamlessly convert their bitcoin holdings into dollars to pay for items at Starbucks locations.

“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,” said Maria Smith, a Vice President at Starbucks.  “Starbucks is committed to innovation for expanding payment options for our customers.”

Bitcoin would greatly simplify the movement of global money… Bitcoin has the potential to become the first worldwide currency.

BITCOIN: THE FIRST GLOBAL CURRENCY

Jeffrey  Sprecher, the founder and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, detailed why major companies are flocking to the platform. He explained that once a firm’s assets are custodied with the exchange, they will be able to conduct frictionless transactions with other institutions and businesses that are connected to the Bakkt ledger.

”Bitcoin would greatly simplify the movement of global money” Sprecher told Fortune magazine. Now major companies are scrambling to get ahead of the curve. Sprecher summed it up like this:  “Bitcoin has the potential to become the first worldwide currency.”

THE WAY FORWARD

Over the past few months we’ve heard many predictions of what bitcoin’s price point will be in the coming years. Everything from $100,000 to $100,000,000This is a compelling roadmap to how that happens.

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