Mastercard, one of the world’s largest financial services providers, is looking at integrating cryptocurrencies into its products. According to CNBC, it will reportedly include Bitcoin (BTC) wallets, credit and debit cards that earn rewards in virtual currencies, and loyalty programs where users could redeem points into cryptos.
“We want to offer all of our partners the ability to more easily add crypto services to whatever it is they’re doing. Our partners, be they banks, fintechs or merchants can offer their customers the ability to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency through an integration with the Baktt platform,”
Sherri Haymond, Mastercard’s Executive Vice President of Digital Partnerships, commented in an interview with CNBC. The integration would be possible after a partnership arranged with Bakkt, a crypto firm that is set to offer custodial services for the purpose.
Although no additional details were disclosed at this stage, the offering likely becomes first available to the US-based users as suggested by CNBC. According to the payments giant, there are 2.8 billion Mastercard holders, which also have relationships with over 20,000 financial institutions globally.
Bakkt Shares Soared Significantly on the News
As the news hit the wires, shares of Bakkt skyrocketed over 70% – a company that started to trade as a publicly listed firm last week.
“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,” Gavin Michael, Bakkt CEO, said.
The announcement also comes in the midst of a strong bull-run seen across the crypto markets, with Bitcoin hitting last week a new all-time high of over $66,000.
Now, BTC is exchanging hands at around $63,209. Also, it’s not known yet if Mastercard plans to include other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum (ETH).