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Bakkt Expands Beyond Futures, Builds Consumer and Merchant Apps

While much of the Bakkt hype has centered around its physically-settled Bitcoin futures, the ICE-backed startup is also involved in other areas of cryptocurrency infrastructure.

Mike Blandina, chief product officer at Bakkt, today revealed that the brainchild of NYSE’s CEO works on rolling-out a cryptocurrency mobile application for retail consumers, as well as a merchant portal. Scant details were given about this product, though.

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“Our vision is to provide a consumer platform for managing a digital asset portfolio, whether they wish to store, transact, trade or transfer their assets,” Blandina said in a Medium blog.

Alongside offering futures, the company intends to introduce its crypto payment system for both merchants and consumers in the first half of 2020. However, regulatory headwinds may push the launch date back by several months as happened with its derivatives product tied to bitcoin.

Starbucks will be the first to adopt the cryptocurrency payment solutions pioneered by Bakkt. The founding partner of Bakkt will be involved in developing the app that will give Starbucks the ability to accept Bitcoin.

“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,” added Blandina who is tasked with expanding Bakkt’s brand outside of its role as a futures provider.

Bakkt has brought on its current CPO in April as the company was reportedly working on a crypto wallet dubbed “Bakkt Pay.” Blandina is a former executive at PayPal and Google, and his 25 years of experience relate mainly to the financial payment industry.

His career also goes beyond the two internet and finance giants, to include positions such as the CTO of Blackhawk Network and a position with OneMarket.

Bakkt added that its payment vehicle has the potential to dramatically alter the nature of the crypto market, especially with regards to “marketplace access, establishing trust, and maximizing control.”

“Bakkt’s approach to secure technology, privacy and innovation means that we are an advocate for consumers who have yet to enter the digital asset space, and for merchants who want to accept new, efficient forms of payments without increasing risks,” its CPO added.

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