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Bakkt reveals digital wallet app for bitcoin spending

Digital asset marketplace Bakkt is launching its Bakkt App, a digital wallet designed to bring all assets into one place. Bakkt CEO Gavin Michael joins Yahoo Finance Live to break down how the company is faring amid the pandemic and outlook for 2021.

Video Transcript

- Cryptocurrency platform Bakkt is launching a new app that allows users to consolidate all digital assets under one wallet. And we're not just talking about cryptocurrencies here. Let's bring in the CEO of that. We've got Gavin Michael joining us today. Gavin, you've got some big-name brands you're already partnered with. When we talk about digital assets, it's reward points, frequent flyer miles, gift cards, as well as bitcoin. Walk me through the mechanics of how all of this works.

GAVIN MICHAEL: Yeah, sure. Look, great to be here. Thank you so much for the time. Today is a tremendously exciting day for us. We've launched the app. This really is a game-changing wallet experience that helps you bring, as you said, all of your digital assets-- frequent flyer miles, gift cards, bitcoin, and more-- into one amazing, easy-to-use app. With the app, we're really giving consumers the choice on how to use their digital assets in ways that they prefer. We allow you to be able to transfer between the different asset classes. We allow you, using our relationship with Starbucks, to really use unused airline points or bitcoin to reload your card and buy your morning coffee.

- Yeah. We were just talking about Paypal allowing cryptocurrency to be used for transactions too. But when it comes to that, everyone I talk to in the space generally tries to stay away from using it for payments for a couple of reasons, either the tax headache or also because you've got to deal with giving up the opportunity for where those could go-- to the moon, mostly, if you're most optimistic. And when you look at maybe what this is trying to do, is centralization of all these different assets more important to the users you're trying to impress here rather than the spending component? Because that's one that maybe we don't talk about enough.

GAVIN MICHAEL: Yeah, look, I think absolutely. We believe that everyone holds more value than you realize. And we're really here to help empower you to track, spend, and send your digital assets however you want. So what is game-changing about our wallet is that it brings together all forms of digital assets in one place. So there's no more siloed apps to track everything. And then in just a few taps, you can use those assets to shop at your favorite merchants, to send them to family and friends, or just convert them to cash.

We really are trying to empower the consumers to use their digital assets as they feel fit. So that's why we take such a broad definition of digital assets. It's not just about cryptocurrency. It's about all forms of assets that we have today in our wallets but are generally stored in a very distributed way. And we're all about bringing it together, putting it in one place, and allowing you to really gain value from potentially liquidity you didn't know you had.

- Yeah. I think the possibility of being able to use unused miles at a Starbucks or being able to transfer that to Best Buy is certainly one that's attractive to a lot of users. But I'm curious about the crypto part of this because we have seen a number of companies that have shied away from it until there's wider adoption. And you've got some big-name brands onboard with this, whether that's a Best Buy or a Starbucks, some other names that you have already mentioned here. What does that tell you about how some of these brands are looking at the future of crypto and potentially wanting to maybe dip their toes to see how much adoption there is?

GAVIN MICHAEL: We definitely see those segments that are crypto-curious. What we offer is a platform that is really bringing consumers, small businesses, and large loyalty programs together in a brand new way. The solution really enables, as we've said, consumers to unlock the value in their digital assets. But we're really helping merchants as well. We're helping merchants and loyalty program partners find really new opportunities to deepen customer engagement and to really lower payment costs.

So when we think about what Bakkt is, it is really the app as access to a platform that is bringing merchants and consumers together. And you see that in the names that we have today in our launch-- Choice Hotels, Starbucks, Pfizer for helping us with giving us access to over 600 credit unions together with GolfNow, where we found a really appealing segment that likes this notion of crypto-curious and really looking to experiment with how they engage with their customers.