IntercontinentalExchange's digital asset unit Bakkt has raised $300 million in Series B funding to finance a push into the retail market.
Launched two years ago, Bakkt has so far majored on the institutional markets, creating a regulated futures and options market for cryptotrading and an institutional custody offering.
The new funding round - financed by ICE, Microsoft’s M12, PayU, Boston Consulting Group, Goldfinch Partners, CMT Digital, and Pantera Capital - will see the firm extend its reach into the consumer space.
With bitcoin markets crashing in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, Bakkt remains intent on a Summer launch for its one-size-fits-all mobile app, that will enable users to consolidate all of their digital assets -from crypto to loyalty points to in-game tokens - in a single virtual wallet.
To this end, the firm will use a portion of the fresh funding to acquire Bridge2 Solutions, a provider of loyalty services for merchants and consumers, which was taken over by parent company ICE in February. Bridge2 powers programmes for seven of the top ten financial institutions and 4,500 loyalty, incentive and employee perk programmes for companies across a wide spectrum of industries.
Announcing the funding, Bakkt chief Mike Blandina, states: "Digital assets include things as diverse as loyalty and rewards points, in-game assets, merchant stored value, and cryptocurrencies, and collectively represent nearly $1 trillion in consumer spending power.
"Despite the size of this market, consumers still find digital assets to be difficult to access, confusing to keep track of, and challenging to use.
"The Bakkt app enables you to aggregate all of these assets into a single digital wallet. In just a few taps you can use those assets to shop at your favorite merchants, send them to family and friends, or convert them to cash."