Mastercard is massively expanding crypto access for businesses as well as consumers.
In a new partnership with digital asset firm Bakkt, the payments giant is launching a range of options that will allow merchants and shoppers to utilize crypto in a number of different ways.
According to today’s announcement,
“Mastercard customers can now enable consumers to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency, deliver unique, crypto-centric loyalty opportunities, and streamline issuance of branded crypto debit and credit cards.
[This is] a multifaceted partnership to make it easier for merchants, banks and fintechs [financial technology] in the US to embrace and offer a broad set of cryptocurrency solutions and services.”
Bakkt Holdings was founded in 2018 and specializes in loyalty programs, gift cards and digital assets.
Bakkt CEO Gavin Michael says of the new partnership,
“We’re lowering the barriers to entry, allowing people to take something like your rewards points and trade them into crypto.
It’s an easy way to get going because you’re not using cash, you’re putting something that’s an idle asset sitting on your balance sheet, and we’re allowing you to put in to work.”
Bakkt Holdings, Inc. (BAKKT) stock price is soaring after the announcement, up 110% on the day at $19.09, according to Yahoo Finance.
Mastercard says that integrating existing loyalty programs with crypto functionality will benefit merchants and shoppers.
“[We are] enabling… partners to offer cryptocurrency as rewards and create fungibility between loyalty points and other digital assets.
This means that consumers can earn and spend rewards in cryptocurrency instead of traditional loyalty points and seamlessly convert their crypto holdings to pay for purchases.”
The Bakkt partnership is the latest move by Mastercard to embrace crypto going mainstream. Last month the payments firm acquired crypto intelligence company CipherTrace in order to “extend its capabilities deep into the field of digital assets.”
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