NYSE Owner Announces Bitcoin Venture With Starbucks, Microsoft
One of the world’s biggest exchanges is finally diving into Bitcoin, teaming up with Starbucks Corp. and Microsoft Corp. and announcing a futures contract on the cryptocurrency.
Intercontinental Exchange Inc., which owns some of the biggest futures markets as well as the New York Stock Exchange, said it’s creating a new company called Bakkt that aims to “create an open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets,” according to a statement Friday.
The venture hopes to introduce a one-day futures contract in November that differs from derivatives already offered by U.S. competitors CME Group Inc. and Cboe Global Markets Inc. because it’s physically delivered, meaning owners of the contract will get Bitcoin, not cash, upon expiration.
“Bakkt is designed to serve as a scalable on-ramp for institutional, merchant and consumer participation in digital assets by promoting greater efficiency, security and utility,” said Kelly Loeffler, the chief executive officer of Bakkt who was until recently head of communications at ICE. “We are collaborating to build an open platform that helps unlock the transformative potential of digital assets across global markets and commerce.”
Despite Bitcoin’s astronomical surge last year, it’s still not widely used to buy and sell actual goods in most countries. Many startups have sought to take cryptocurrencies mainstream by developing exchanges or payment solutions for merchants, but few have had success connecting all of the necessary players. ICE wants to be the one-stop shop that takes crypto from a speculative investment to a staple of global commerce.
ICE said Starbucks and Microsoft were joining the effort to help consumers and institutions “buy, sell, store and spend digital assets.”
In addition to ICE and Microsoft’s venture capital arm, investors in Bakkt are expected to include an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group, Eagle Seven, Galaxy Digital, Horizons Ventures, Alan Howard, Pantera Capital, Protocol Ventures and Susquehanna International Group, the statement said.
WooCommerce Gets Bitcoin
WooCommerce is many, many times more popular than any of its competitors. It’s 6 times more popular than Magento or Shopify.
The competitive advantage of WooCommerce is even greater when compared to other WordPress e-commerce plugins. An amazing 94.3% of all WordPress e-commerce websites use WooCommerce instead of another plugin. Easy Digital Downloads is the second most popular, followed fairly closely by WP eCommerce and Ecwid. But none of them even close come to WooCommerce in the stats.
Data from SellWithWP (based on data from Built With) tracks the usage of all the main WordPress e-commerce plugins in June 2015, October 2016 and April 2017. At a glance, it’s clear that WooCommerce is growing whereas all the other plugins are declining.
WooCommerce is so popular that it’s hard to see the lines for the other plugins,(see chart: https://barn2.co.uk/woocommerce-stats).
This gives us a much better view of the changing usage of the other WordPress e-commerce plugins. Nearly all of them are declining, presumably because WooCommerce is gaining market share and winning business from these plugins.
Easy Digital Downloads saw quite a bit of growth during this period and is now declining slightly. The same briefly happened for Ecwid. WP eCommerce was the second most popular WordPress e-commerce plugin until 2016, when it was overtaken by Easy Digital Downloads.
It looks like in 2017 and 2018, it is still possible for other WordPress e-commerce plugins to increase their market share. However this is a slow and arduous process and WooCommerce currently has no stiff competition – either in the WordPress ecosystem or the wider e-commerce world.
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