Mastercard and Bakkt Extend Crypto Partnership
Last week, Bitcoin hit a new record high as interest in digital currencies continues to climb. While the asset’s price has dipped modestly since, that hasn’t dampened the outlook that various FinTechs, financial institutions, and others have for cryptocurrency. The latest example comes from Mastercard, which has just announced an expanded partnership with Bakkt.
The partnership will allow Mastercard to offer Crypto-as-a-Service. In turn, this will enable Mastercard partners to provide cryptocurrency solutions. This includes the ability for consumers to purchase, hold, and sell crypto assets via custodial wallets as well as issue cryptocurrency credit and debit cards. Beyond these increasingly-common features, Mastercard notes that partners will be able to create loyalty programs that reward customers with crypto. Then, users could either hold these assets or convert them to fiat to pay for purchases.
In a statement about the expanded partnership and its effects, Mastercard EVP of Digital Partnerships Sherri Haymond said, “Mastercard is committed to offering a wide range of payment solutions that deliver more choice, value and impact every day. Together with Bakkt and grounded by our principled approach to innovation, we’ll not only empower our partners to offer a dynamic mix of digital assets options, but also deliver differentiated and relevant consumer experiences.”
Additionally, Bakkt EVP of Loyalty Rewards & Payments Nancy Gordon stated, “We’re incredibly excited to partner with Mastercard to bring crypto loyalty services to millions of consumers. As brands and merchants look to appeal to younger consumers and their transaction preferences, these new offerings represent a unique opportunity to satisfy increasing demand for crypto, payment and rewards flexibility.”
As Gordon points out, cryptocurrencies have become increasingly mainstream, especially as a form of rewards. For example, apps such as Fold and Lolli allow users to earn crypto back on gift cards or online purchases. Elsewhere, the use of crypto-linked debit cards and credit cards has been on the rise. In fact, Mastercard rival Visa reported that such cards were used to make $1 billion in purchases during the first half of 2021.
At this point, it should come as no surprise that companies such as Mastercard are doing their part to push cryptocurrencies forward. What’s more, although crypto is often still viewed mostly as a speculative investment, partnerships such as this one with Bakkt help expand the utility of digital assets, increasing their circulation. Therefore, as interest in cryptocurrencies continues to grow, there will surely be many other crypto partnerships and programs to emerge.
Also published on Medium.