Intercontinental Exchange, the company behind Nasdaq and Bitcoin trading platform Bakkt has announced the acquisition of the leading provider of loyalty solutions for consumers and merchants.
This acquisition has been made for Bakkt as once ICE had completed the transaction, the majority-owned subsidiary of ICE will acquire it from its parent company. Bakkt will be using the proceeds from its series B round of funding which is expected to close later this quarter.
“When Bridge2 Solutions ultimately joins Bakkt, the strategic combination will accelerate the development of the Bakkt consumer application, which will provide digital asset aggregation, conversion and payments through a single platform for consumers around the world,” reads the official announcement.
Spending Digital Assets as Freely as any other Currency
Bridge2 Solutions powers programs for seven of the top ten financial institutions and 4,500 loyalty, incentive programs for companies across the industries. Its Loyal Pay solution gives consumers the ability to pay with reward currencies at the point of sale (POS) in retail stores and in-app via digital wallets.
“Bakkt’s second round of funding, and its acquisition of Bridge2 Solutions, will help accelerate the development of Bakkt’s consumer application, which has been a key part of our strategy since we first looked at this market,” said Jeffrey Sprecher, Founder, Chairman and CEO of ICE.
The idea is to allow customers to use digital assets and drive their adoption as Mike Blandina, CEO of Bakkt shared, “With the launch of the Bakkt app, we will, for the first time, offer consumers a robust platform to consolidate and use all of their digital assets, from crypto to loyalty points to in game tokens, in one user-friendly wallet.”
Blandina added: “Combining Bridge2 Solutions’ embedded relationships with banks and merchants and their innovative Loyalty Pay solution will enable us to launch new products that further drive loyalty and empower consumers to trade, transfer and spend digital assets in entirely new ways.”
The global system for digital assets represents more than $1.2 trillion in value and the Bakkt app will enable consumers to unlock much of that value by “allowing them to trade and spend their digital assets freely, as they would any other currency.”
ICE Makes an Offer to eBay
In other news, ICE has made a takeover offer to eBay, valuing it at over $30 billion, reported the Wall Street Journal. The news outlet said, ICE “may see an opening to apply its technological expertise connecting buyers and sellers to eBay’s core e-commerce site covering everything from electronics to collectibles.”
However, this isn’t the first time ICE approached eBay. Although it is again in talks there is no guarantee that eBay would agree to a deal. eBay shares meanwhile jumped 10% but the news took ICE’s down 3%.
eBay also sells virtual currency and mining contracts for Bitcoin. Earlier last year, there were rumors that the online auction site might start accepting Bitcoin soon only to turn out to be partnering with a third-party payment platform that accepts cryptos on behalf of merchants and pays them in fiat.
During the Bitcoin bull run of 2017, senior vice president eBay Americas, Scott Cutler said in an interview that they were “seriously considering” accepting the digital currency only to add that, “we’re not quite there yet.”
Now, the news of ICE’s offer to take over eBay has the crypto community excited as Anthony Pompliano co-founder of Morgan Creek Capital said,
“The owner of the New York Stock Exchange is thinking about taking over eBay at a valuation of more than $30 billion. This is the same company that realized the importance of Bitcoin enough to start Bakkt. Would be incredible to combine NYSE, Bakkt, & eBay under one roof.”