Mastercard prepares to announce the ability of the thousands of banks and millions of merchants on its payments network to integrate crypto into their products as it partners with Bakkt.
This includes bitcoin wallets, credit and debit cards that earn rewards in crypto and enable digital assets to be spent, and loyalty programs where airline or hotel points can be converted into bitcoin.
Bakkt,the crypto firm recently spun off by Intercontinental Exchange, will be the provider of custodial services for those who sign up, executives at the two firms told CNBC.
“We want to offer all of our partners the ability to more easily add crypto services to whatever it is they’re doing,” Sherri Haymond, Mastercard’s executive vice president of digital partnerships, said in an interview. “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.”
Banks will also be able to issue cryptocurrency debit and credit cards, similar to the crypto-linked cards already offered by Visa.
Gathered from CNBC, Interest in bitcoin has remained high as the original cryptocurrency surged this year, hitting a record price above $60,000 this month. U.S. regulators have allowed the fund industry to offer bitcoin-linked ETFs for the first time this month, while big institutional investors like bond giant Pimco have said they were considering trading crypto and this interest has led to Mastercard clients requesting for the provision of crypto services from the network according to Haymond. That way, banks can keep customers on their own platforms rather than seeing dollars migrate to crypto exchanges, she said.