ICE’s Bakkt Launches Digital Wallet

Bakkt Holdings has launched the Bakkt App, a digital wallet that brings together bitcoin and other forms of digital assets into one platform.

The Bakkt App is designed to amplify consumer spending, reduce payment costs, and bolster merchant loyalty programs. The firm saw over 500,000 users participate in its invitation-only Early Access Program.

The official launch will have the service available in the App Store and Google Play Store, with industry and brand leaders including Starbucks, GolfNow, Best Buy, Choice Hotels, and Fiserv.

Gavin Michael, CEO at Bakkt, said: “The average consumer holds a wealth of digital assets – from gift cards to loyalty points to bitcoin – but lacks the tools to adequately track and utilize their value. We’re thrilled to bring the Bakkt App to the public as a step along our journey to expand digital asset access to all.”

Launched by Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. in 2018, Bakkt’s platform taps into ICE’s ability to create a secure and regulated market infrastructure for users to safely transact all forms of digital assets in one place, as opposed to separate siloed apps for individual types of assets.

Starbucks customers can convert supported loyalty and rewards points, bitcoin, frequent flyer miles, and gift cards in the Bakkt App into USD to then reload their Starbucks Card saved in the Starbucks app.

Karl Hebert, Starbucks VP of global card, commerce and payment, said: “Starbucks is proud to be an innovation partner with Bakkt. Our teams worked closely together as Bakkt sought input in developing a unique and trusted payment experience that enables customers to unlock the value of their digital assets in the form of US dollars. We are excited that customers now have the opportunity to use Bakkt to load their Starbucks Card in the Starbucks app and then use it to pay at Starbucks.”

The Bakkt App is being launched in partnership with leading names including Best Buy, Choice Hotels, Fiserv, and GolfNow.

Jerramy Hainline, Senior Vice President and General Manager, GolfNow, said: “As a technology leader in our sport, GolfNow is excited to join with Bakkt to further diversify payment solutions for our more than 3.5 million members. The potential our partnership presents is very compelling, creating an opportunity to make golf even more accessible by giving our customers the ability to convert crypto, gift cards and unused loyalty points into a round of golf.”

Bakkt takes a broad view of digital assets and intends to aggregate all digital assets into a single digital wallet, making them as liquid as any fiat currency.

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has recently approved the application of Bakkt Marketplace for virtual currency and money transmitter licenses. The Bakkt Marketplace will be authorized to offer its cryptocurrency offering to New York residents.