Starbucks partners with Microsoft, ICE on new cryptocurrency


Starbucks is working with Microsoft and a leading global exchange on a new digital payment platform that will allow consumers to use cryptocurrency to buy Frappuccinos.

The coffee giant along with Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft and BCG, among others, to create a new company called Bakkt that will enable consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend cryptocurrencies on a 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 US dollars for use at Starbucks,” Maria Smith, vice president of partnerships and payments for Starbucks, said in a statement. “As a leader in Mobile Pay to our more than 15 million Starbucks Rewards members, Starbucks is committed to innovation for expanding payment options for our customers.”

Cryptocurrency skeptics have challenged its use case as a means of payment because of its volatility. Bitcoin for example, has dropped by roughly 50 percent this year, and its value often changes by hundreds of dollars in a single day.

Starbucks taking cryptocurrency seriously could be bullish for prices, which have struggled to find footing this year.

“It’s very big news for bitcoin because people say where can you spend it? Now at every single Starbucks,” said Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of BKCM. “Starbucks is seeing some kind of demand for acceptance of crypto and bitcoin, and to tie up with a huge regulated institution the ICE is really positive for the space.”

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