Starbucks’ New Crypto Venture
Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange is pairing up with Starbucks and Microsoft to launch a new integrated platform called Bakkt. Bakkt is a bitcoin payment provider that will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud service to promote a open regulated platform for the exchange of digital assets. There have been mixed reports on Starbucks’ role in the new exchange. Sources jumped to conclusions on Friday and reported that Starbucks was planning on accepting bitcoin as payment. However upon further inspection, this appears to not be the case. In a recently released media statement Maria Smith, Vice President of Partnerships and Payments for Starbucks, said
“As the flagship retailer, Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into US dollars for use at Starbucks, as a leader in Mobile Pay to our more than 15 million Starbucks Rewards members, Starbucks is committed to innovation for expanding payment options for our customers” (Starbucks Corporation, 2018).
You may not be able to pay for your macchiato with crypto just yet but innovation may be just around the corner. The involvement of major companies in cryptocurrency is monumental in solidifying the currency of the future.
Madonna Teams Up with Ripple for Fundraising
Popstar Madonna is creating waves by teaming up with the US based technology company Ripple. The singer is pairing up with the company to promote her charity Raising Malawi. The charity was founded in 2006 by Madonna and screenwriter Michael Berg, in the hope that pair could alleviate the devastation brought on by rampant poverty and an unchecked spread of HIV/AIDS. Madonna spoke about her inspiration to provide aid to the country on the charity website stating,
“When I discovered that over a million children were orphaned by AIDS, living in one of the poorest countries in Africa, I felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility to get involved and do what I could to help bring awareness to the situation” (Dayo, 2014).
The popstar’s hardwork and dedication to the people of Malawi has led to the creation of hospitals, orphanages, and education opportunities. However with 50.7% of the population still reported to be living below the poverty line as of May 2017, there is still a lot of work to be done. Madonna is using the occasion of her upcoming birthday to continue that work. Turning 60 this year she is using the big 6-0 to raise $60,000 to be given directly to the Home of Hope Orphanagein Malawi. Ripple is playing a huge part in the effort by matching all public donations for a month starting back on July 30th and running the campaign till August 31st. Coindesk reported on July 31st that the campaign had already reached the halfway point with donations from over 540 people in just two days. It goes to show that one small ripple can lead to so much more.
Australia’s Sweet Tooth for Blockchain
Blockchain technology is sounding really sweet to the Australian government and the Queensland Cane Growers Organization. The organization that represents 95% of Cane Growers on the continent of Australia was granted 2.25 million to implement blockchain technology in a project called SmartCane Best Management Practice (BMP). The practice zeros in on the sustainability, profitability, and productivity of sugarcane farms, and utilizes blockchain technology to track shipments. Canegrowers spoke to FoodNavigator-Asia about the project and the draw to blockchain technology,
“Blockchain’s main attribute is that it’s a secure database in which all transactions are recorded and visible… the quality sugar produced from the sustainably-grown cane can be traced back through the chain, giving consumers confidence in what they are buying” (Wood, 2018).
The utilization of blockchain technology will promote the sustainability project and give transparency to the sugarcane industry.
Author: Jordan Darling
 Starbucks Corporation. (2018, August 03). Intercontinental Exchange Announces Bakkt, a Global Platform and Ecosystem for Digital Assets. Retrieved from https://news.starbucks.com/press-releases/intercontinental-exchange-announces-bakkt-a-global-platform
 Prentiss, T. (2018, August 03). [UPDATED] Bakkt Digital Asset Platform: Starbucks Hopes You’ll Like Coffee With ICE. Retrieved from https://www.ethnews.com/bakkt-digital-asset-platform-starbucks-hopes-youll-like-coffee-with-ice
 Capozzalo, O. (2018, August 07). ‘No Coffee for Bitcoin,’ Starbucks Clarifies as Media Misrepresent Its New Crypto Venture. Retrieved from https://cointelegraph.com/news/no-coffee-for-bitcoin-starbucks-clarifies-as-media-misrepresent-its-new-crypto-venture
 Shi, N. M. (2018, July 31). Ripple Partners With Madonna to Fundraise for Orphans in Malawi. Retrieved from https://www.coindesk.com/ripple-partners-with-madonna-to-fundraise-for-orphans-in-malawi/
 International Monetary Fund. (2017, July). Malawi: Economic Development Document [PDF].
 Dayo, S. (2014, December 18). Interview with Madonna: Join me on my journey to change the world. Retrieved from http://www.raisingmalawi.org/latest-news-1/2016/6/23/interview-with-madonna-join-me-on-my-journey-to-change-the-world
 Wood, A. (2018, August 07). Australian Government Awards Grant to Blockchain Project for Sustainable Sugar. Retrieved from https://cointelegraph.com/news/australian-government-awards-grant-to-blockchain-project-for-sustainable-sugar
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 Raza, A. (2018, August 1). [Madonna and Ripple]. Retrieved from https://news.livecoinwatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Madonna-and-Ripple.jpg
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