(Reuters) - Intercontinental Exchange Inc, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, said on Friday it plans to form a company and trading platform for digital assets, such as bitcoin, as well as a physically delivered bitcoin futures contract.
The exchange and clearinghouse operator said the new trading platform would use Microsoft Corp’s cloud solutions to create an open and regulated, global ecosystem for the around $270 billion digital asset marketplace.
ICE did not give a launch date for the company, called Bakkt, and said further details would be announced in the coming weeks.
The platform will initially be used for trading and conversion of bitcoin versus fiat currencies, Atlanta-based ICE said.
ICE said it was partnering with several companies on the new project, including Boston Consulting Group, Microsoft, and Starbucks Corp to enable consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets on its global network.
“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 U.S. dollars for use at Starbucks,” Maria Smith, vice president, partnerships and payments for Starbucks, said in a statement.
Investors in Bakkt are expected to include an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group, Eagle Seven, Galaxy Digital, Horizons Ventures, Alan Howard, Pantera Capital, Protocol Ventures, and Susquehanna International Group, LLP, ICE said.
“Bakkt is designed to serve as a scalable on-ramp for institutional, merchant and consumer participation in digital assets by promoting greater efficiency, security and utility,” Bakkt Chief Executive Kelly Loeffler said in a statement.
ICE also said it planned to launch a one-day physically delivered bitcoin futures contract and warehousing in November 2018, subject to approval by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.