Story by: Billy Bambrough
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency market watchers have been eagerly awaiting next year’s bitcoin halving–something that many think could boost the bitcoin price.
The bitcoin price, after a difficult 2018, has somewhat recovered this year. One bitcoin is now worth more than 150% of its January price, making it 0ne of the best performing assets of 2019.
However, real world bitcoin adoption remains subdued and trading volumes have largely stalled. Now, a newly announced consumer app for bitcoin and cryptocurrency purchases from bitcoin futures exchange Bakkt potentially the catalyst for bitcoin’s next leap higher.
Bakkt, a New York Stock Exchange-owner backed bitcoin and cryptocurrency venture, announced this week it plans to launch a consumer app for cryptocurrency purchases in 2020.
U.S. coffee chain Starbucks will be its first launch partner, with the company one of the original backers of the crypto project, along with software giant Microsoft and Boston Consulting Group.
Starbucks is the world’s largest coffee chain, boasting more than 30,000 stores.
Users of the Bakkt app will be able to spend bitcoin on Starbucks coffee via the app, however, they won’t be making bitcoin payments directly to the company–a process that is still too slow for most consumer transactions.
“We’re now focused on the development of the consumer app and merchant portal, as well as testing with our first launch partner, Starbucks, which we expect in the first half of next year,” Bakkt chief product officer Mike Blandina said in a blog post announcing the app.
“A key feature of the model we’ve designed is to support a superset of digital assets, including cryptocurrencies, as seamlessly as investors transact in stocks in a retail brokerage account.”
Earlier this week, the chief executive of New York Stock Exchange-owner ICE, Jeffrey Sprecher, said that for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to become a long-term store of value transactions need to pick up.
“Because I’m old I think of [how] gold became a store of value because at one point it was a currency,” Sprecher reportedly told investors during an ICE quarterly earnings call.
“We had gold coins, it was in circulation, and over time because of the nature of its ability to spend, … it became a store of value and today, you know, in a crisis we all accept gold as a form of payment.
“We don’t think that that that whole space will be relevant and and grow unless there are real use cases and we do … think that a use case is going to be the digital transfer of value through payments.”
Meanwhile, the bitcoin halving may not have the effect on the price many expect it to, with litecoin, one of bitcoin’s major rivals struggling after going though its own halving event this year.
The litecoin price surged ahead of the halving, in which the number of new digital tokens rewarded to so-called miners is reduced by half, but has since fallen back.
In May next year the coin reward for mining new bitcoin blocks is scheduled to drop from 12.5 bitcoin to 6.25 bitcoin–cutting the supply of new bitcoin coming onto the market by half.
Original story: https://tinyurl.com/y5tut3lwby