Bakkt Says Latest Acquisition Will Help Its ‘Consumer Business’

On Monday (January 14th), Kelly Loeffler, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bakkt, a subsidiary of the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), announced that Bakkt had acquired "certain assets of Rosenthal Collins Group (RCG), an independent futures commission merchant," a move that it hopes will "aid" its "consumer business."

Here is how Bakkt announced the news on Twitter:

In a post published on Bakkt's Medium blog a short time ago, the Bakkt CEO started by listing Bakkt's objectives:

"As those who’ve followed us since our first announcement in August know, our mission is to build the first integrated, institutional grade exchange-traded markets and custody solution for physical delivery of digital assets... In parallel, we’re building a secure, scalable platform for transacting with digital assets so that our regulated ecosystem serves consumers, merchants and institutions."

She then explained that while Bakkt is waiting for "regulatory approval by the CFTC" for Bakkt's physically-settled Bitcoin (BTC) futures contract, Bakkt had decided to acquire "certain assets" of RCG (including some of its employees), a transaction that Bakkt expects to close in February.

What is the point of this acquisition?

Loeffler explains:

"First, it will enhance our risk management and treasury operations with systems and expertise. Other aspects of the transaction will contribute to our regulatory, AML/KYC and customer service operations as we help enable digital asset acceptance by bringing more choice and control to buyers and sellers."

A report in Fortune, which interviewed the Bakkt CEO, says that this acquisition "confirms that the cryptocurrency trading company is speeding its plans to revolutionize the way people pay for everything from coffee to cars." 

Loeffler told Fortune:

“Typically when companies are combined you have overlapping systems, so we saw an opportunity to a purchase a portion of the back office operations, including compliance and treasury services, and risk management, as well as adding members of the RCG team.”

Fortune says that although "Rosenthal traditionally focused on the institutional side," Loeffler "emphasizes that Bakkt will use its expertise in an entirely new area to support its vision for streamlining payments between customers and merchants."  Loeffler is quoted as saying:

“It’s not so institutions can trade. The acquisition will aid our consumer business as we build Bakkt.”

The Bakkt CEO also told Fortune:

"The evolution of blockchain technology opens new possibilities for digital assets to serve as an an efficient payments mechanism at the consumer and merchant level."

"Think about today’s Starbucks app. You can pre-fund a prepaid or stored value card with a digital app. The first use case is to pre-fund the cards, with Bitcoin. The goal is to give consumers the choice between purchasing with digital or fiat currency.”

On 31 December 2018, Bakkt announced that in its first round of fundraising, had received $182.5 million from several partners and investors who also "believe in the future of digital assets."

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pexels.com

Tron's 'Four Major Developments' Including zk-SNARKs to Launch By Q2 2019

The developers of Tron (TRX), one of the largest platforms for building and deploying decentralized applications (dApps), are reportedly planning to release a set of upgrades and new tools to enhance the blockchain network’s functionality.

As noted by Misha Lederman, the co-founder of IAmDecentralized.org, a platform that is being created to support the ongoing development of decentralized technologies, the Tron blockchain ecosystem is set to deliver the following “major development”:

  • “BitTorrent Speed, $BTT,”
  • “Institutional-friendly multi-signature & account management,”
  • “USDT-TRON stablecoin launch on #TRX blockchain,”
  • “Implementing privacy option for transactions.”

Lederman, who’s known for being one of the most vocal supporters of Tron (especially on Twitter), revealed that Tron’s major developments (listed above) will be launched in the “coming weeks and months” of Q2 2019.

"BitTorrent Speed" And Multi-Sig Wallets Launched

After acquiring BitTorrent last year for $140 million, Tron’s userbase may have increased significantly as the peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing solution reportedly has more than 100 million users. In order to improve the existing functionality of BitTorrent and its native BTT token, Tron’s developers are launching “BitTorrent Speed,” an application that will compensate network participants in BTT in exchange for providing bandwidth and seeding.

On February 24th, Tron founder Justin Sun had announced (via Twitter) that the following set of updates would be integrated on the dApp development platform (Tron’s version 3.5):

  • “hard fork upgrade” (already activated on February 28th),
  • “Multi-signature [wallets] and [new] account management features for institutional investors,"
  • “Dynamic energy adjustment to real-time network performance,”
  • “50% up performance & res usage,”
  • ”Better [virtual machine] VM safety, events server for dApps.”

As explained by Sun in a video he posted from his official Twitter account (on March 7th, 2019), Tron’s partnership with Tether Ltd., the developer of the world’s first and largest stablecoin (USDT) involves the development of a Tron-based USDT token that offers “TRX holders a new way of value storage, provides dApp users a new way to play [or access] dApps, and increases legitimacy with institutional investors.”

Adding zk-SNARKS To Tron's Ecosystem

Moreover, the partnership between Tether Ltd and the Tron Foundation will involve the creation of a new TRC-20 compliant USDT stablecoin that will provide interoperability with applications and protocols across Tron’s ecosystem.

Notably, Tron’s development team is planning to integrate zCash’s zk-SNARKS privacy technology - which is intended to provide Tron’s users the option to conduct private transactions.

During the “Bad Crypto” podcast, Sun revealed why he is planning to incorporate the zk-SNARKS on the Tron network. He remarked:

People don’t want their privacy stored by Facebook or Google because those people can more easily manipulate the data so they can push ads to you. You don’t want to share those data with them. That’s why I think the decentralized way becomes a good way to do that and limit how much data you are required to share.