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Bitcoin futures exchange Bakkt is going public via a merger with VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) created for taking startup firms public.

Both companies have now confirmed the transaction, and will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under a new name – Bakkt Holdings Inc., – sometime in the second quarter of 2021. Rumours about the deal have swelled since early January.

After the merger, Bakkt is expected to have an enterprise value of $2.1 billion, the company announced on Jan. 11. Bakkt was founded by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), owners of the NYSE, in 2018 as an institutional crypto trading platform. But the exchange has faced stiff competition from market leaders such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

According to the announcement, the exchange will also raise an additional $582 million through a private placement, leveraging existing cash at VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings and contributions from ICE.

The money is expected to bankroll Bakkt’s pivot to developing consumer applications for digital assets. Bakkt is expanding its business model, with a new app that allows users to manage crypto assets, including bitcoin (BTC), along with reward and loyalty points, intended for launch in March.

Bakkt said that more than 400,000 customers have pre-registered for the app. The exchange, which supports over 30 loyalty program sponsors and 200 gift card merchants, is targeting 30 million users over the next five years. Starbucks has already integrated Bakkt Cash as a payment method for its clients.

In its statement, Bakkt detailed that it aims to “enable incremental consumer spending, reduce traditional payment costs and bolster loyalty programs, adding value for all key stakeholders within the payments and digital assets ecosystem.”

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currensceneFLOGO WHTsquareThough not the oldest form of currency, some form of shell money appears to have been found on almost every continent. The shell most widely used worldwide as currency was the shell of Cypraea moneta, the money cowry.

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