Mastercard is expected to announce soon that any of the hundreds of banks and millions of merchants on its payments network would be able to incorporate cryptocurrency into their services.
This includes bitcoin wallets, credit and debit cards that generate crypto rewards and allow digital assets to be spent, and loyalty schemes that allow you to convert airline or hotel points into bitcoin.
To do so, the payments network has teamed up with Bakkt, a cryptocurrency business recently spun off from Intercontinental Exchange, which will provide custodial services for customers who join up.
In an interview, Sherri Haymond, Mastercard’s executive vice president of digital partnerships, said that they want to offer all of their partners the option to more simply add crypto services to whatever it is they’re doing. Through a connection with the Baktt platform, their partners, whether banks, fintechs, or merchants, can provide their consumers the opportunity to purchase, trade, and hold cryptocurrency.
The revelation could result in a large increase in the number of people earning and spending bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the United States. Along with Visa, Mastercard administers one of the most powerful global payment networks, with over 20,000 financial institutions around the world. According to the corporation, there are 2.8 billion Mastercards in use.
Bitcoin’s popularity has stayed high as the original cryptocurrency has risen in value this year, reaching a new high of over $60,000 this month. For the first time this month, US regulators permitted the fund industry to offer bitcoin ETFs, and huge institutional investors like bond giant Pimco revealed they were exploring trading crypto.
According to Haymond, this enthusiasm has caused Mastercard clients to contact the network for assistance in delivering crypto services. She claims that by doing so, banks will be able to keep their customers on their own platforms rather than watching their money transfer to cryptocurrency exchanges.
Later Monday, at the annual Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas, Mastercard and Bakkt were expected to announce their cooperation.
According to Bakkt CEO Gavin Michael, the cooperation means that, in addition to providing crypto wallets and credit cards for banks, shops and restaurants will be able to give bitcoin rewards instead of standard points. He further said that customers can exchange their existing points into crypto at rates determined by the partnering companies, allowing them to make a return.
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