The biggest coffee chain in the world will soon begin accepting Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Starbucks has partnered with Microsoft, Intercontinental Exchange, the Boston Consulting Group, and others to form a new company that will a “enable consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend cryptocurrencies on the global network by November,” CNBC reported Friday.
The company, called Bakkt, will operate by converting Bitcoin and other digital currencies to U.S. dollars to be spent at Starbucks. According to a statement in a press release, Maria Smith, Starbuck’s vice president of partnerships and payments, said:
“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. 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.”
But the goal is not simply to make coffee easier to buy with Bitcoin. “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,” said Kelly Loeffler, Bakkt’s chief executive officer. “We are collaborating to build an open platform that helps unlock the transformative potential of digital assets across global markets and commerce.”
Further, Sean Collins, a senior partner at BCG, emphasized the growing power of the blockchain. “Blockchain technology holds tremendous potential to enable new business models and trusted ecosystems,” he said. “By leveraging and developing fundamental market infrastructure, the Bakkt platform will enable firms across industries to accelerate a range of innovation.”
If and when Starbucks adopts cryptocurrencies as a form of payment, it will join other major retailers like Overstock, CheapAir, Expedia, and Shopify. The trend of proliferating cryptocurrencies does not appear to be slowing down. Earlier this year, eBay hired Adyen, a Dutch payment processing company that partners with BitPay, a firm that facilitates cryptocurrency transactions around the world, leaving the door open for the internet retail mainstay to accept cryptocurrencies in the future.