Digital Assets: Bakkt’s Bridge2 Acquisition Eyes Revolutionary Rewards-to-Crypto Conversion

February 7, 2020 | Digital Assets, News
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Millennials will love the concept of getting rewards as cryptocurrency.

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced Wednesday its agreement to acquire Bridge2 Solutions, a leading provider of loyalty solutions for merchants and consumers. ICE did not disclose the terms of the acquisition.

Bakkt intends to monetize for consumers the loyalty rewards programs that run on the Bridge2 platform.  It will do this through its proposed Loyalty App, reports cryptonews.com.

According to Fortune, Bridge2 could be sitting on a treasure trove of $60 billion reward points that are ready to convert to benefits and gifts as per consumers’ choices.

Fortune also revealed that big corporate rewards issuers have a problem. About $160 billion of reward point liabilities sit on their balance sheets.

“In today’s strong economy, travelers are using their airline rewards points at a relatively low rate. But if the economy turns down, consumers could start cashing in heavily, causing a sudden rush of losses for the carriers. Today, points turn over on average at an extremely slow pace of around 30% a year,” according to Fortune.

They are looking for ways to smoothly extinguish these potentially volatile liabilities by purchasing them on a pay-per-point basis.

What if these points could be converted to cryptos?

Bakkt plans to bridge loyalty points and cryptos

Could not rewards flow directly from the issuer to the consumer – eliminating various intermediaries?

The legacy payments infrastructure is ripe for disintermediation,” Jeff Sprecher, founder, and CEO of Bakkt operator Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), told Fortune. “The Internet should make it possible to create a direct payment system that doesn’t use a third-party set of rails. It hit us that making rewards cash-like would be a step in that direction.”

“With the launch of the Bakkt app, we will, for the first time, offer consumers a robust platform to consolidate and use all of their digital assets, from crypto to loyalty points to in-game tokens, in one user-friendly wallet,” said Mike Blandina, CEO of Bakkt in the announcement of the acquisition. “Combining Bridge2 Solutions’ embedded relationships with banks and merchants and their innovative Loyalty Pay solution will enable us to launch new products that further drive loyalty and empower consumers to trade, transfer and spend digital assets in entirely new ways.”

Here’s a mock-up of the concept of the app.

According to cryptonews, Sprecher foresees that more corporates would be drawn to Bridge2 programs because a crypto angle would draw in more millennials, a demographic of intense interest to these companies.

Related Story:   Bakkt To Roll Out Bitcoin Options Before CME; Launch Date December 9

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