- New leaked information reveals that Starbucks received a significant equity stake in Bakkt Bitcoin futures platform, in exchange for using its software to facilitate purchases of Starbucks products with cryptocurrencies.
- Bakkt’s launch is on a never-ending delay due to regulatory approval
- Direct Bitcoin payments for Starbucks could bring unprecedented utility to the first cryptocurrency
In August last year, Starbucks made a surprising announcement that they would be partnering with the Bitcoin futures platform Bakkt. What was initially interpreted as Starbucks accepting Bitcoin, was later clarified as a partnership in which Bakkt would “only let users trade and convert Bitcoin into FIAT currencies,” which they would use to pay for items at Starbucks. Instead of paying for coffee directly with Bitcoin, buyers would pay with Bitcoin that will be auto-converted to FIAT by Bakkt’s software.
Still, many people were curious about why the partnership was occurring in the first place, and what Starbucks would benefit for associating its brand name with Bitcoin.
Starbucks and Bakkt’s equity
A recent report now reveals that Starbucks did, in fact, have something to acquire, which is a significant equity stake in Bakkt. Although the details have not been discussed, the stake has been described as ‘disproportionately high given they did not make a cash investment.”
This sort of arrangement makes sense when considering the value and strength of Starbucks brand, and how any company that is associated with it gets a massive boost in visibility and new customers. So for Bakkt, the equity granted to Starbucks was likely well worth the investment.
Starbucks oversees implementation
In terms of implementation, we are likely to see a crypto-to-fiat card that will be operated by Bakkt and can be topped up using the Starbucks mobile app. Starbucks has made it clear that they would be having a major influence over the user interface and customer experience, something Starbucks has a long track record of excelling in.
Other new information reveals that the first phase of the partnership would take place in the US, whereas Bakkt’s interface would convert Bitcoin to USD. No specific roadmap was mentioned regarding when they plan to become global. However, doing so might save Starbucks a significant amount of money in foreign exchange fees, as Bakkt would enable global customers to switch from crypto directly to US dollars.
Bakkt’s never-ending delays may affect Starbucks partnership
It also turns out that the delay of Bakkt’s launch has affected the launch of the Starbucks partnership. Bakkt has been trying to get regulatory approval form the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission). However, the recent government shutdown led to a continuous delay of the anticipated launch that was recently intended for January 24th until they could receive regulatory approval.
So far the new launch date has been set. This puts a damper on the Starbucks partnership, as Starbucks cannot be seen to be working with a crypto exchange that doesn’t yet have regulatory approval.
The prospects of such partnership sounds very encouraging for both Starbucks and the crypto space as a whole. Although the coffee chain is not accepting Bitcoin directly, this partnership could be the precursor to Bitcoin being used to pay for coffee.
As we’ve previously discussed, the ramifications of Bitcoin being adopted as a form of payment in Starbucks would introduce a new level of mainstream utility. In the meantime, we will have to wait patiently for Bakkt to receive regulatory approval so that the Starbucks partnership can commence.