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The owner of the New York Stock Exchange is jumping head first into cryptocurrency

August 3, 2018

Intercontinental Exchange, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, apparently wants to compete directly with Coinbase and other popular cryptocurrency exchanges.

The news: The exchange operator announced today that it will be forming a new company, called Bakkt, which will work with Microsoft, BCG, Starbucks, and others to create “an integrated platform that enables consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store, and spend digital assets on a seamless global network.” Bakkt will include “federally regulated markets” as well as “merchant and consumer applications.” Intercontinental Exchange called the initiative an effort to “address the evolving needs in the estimated $270 billion digital asset market.”

First up: The company’s US-based futures exchange will launch one-day Bitcoin contracts. Two other major exchanges have already launched Bitcoin futures in the US. But the new contracts will be unique in that they will be settled using actual bitcoins instead of dollars.

Revolutionary (or not): Many cryptocurrency enthusiasts cheered the development, which is likely to lead to more widespread adoption, further legitimization of the market, and, potentially, price increases for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. But wait, wasn’t the point of Bitcoin to disrupt the legacy financial system? As Dogecoin creator Jackson Palmer tweeted: “Make up your mind.”

Keep up with the fast-moving and sometimes baffling world of cryptocurrencies and blockchains with our twice-weekly newsletter Chain Letter. Subscribe here. It’s free!

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