Mastercard expands cryptocurrency payments, meaning loyalty points could be swapped for Bitcoin

By Euronews, Reuters 25/10/2021

Mastercard said it would allow partners on its network to enable their consumers to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency using a digital wallet, as well as reward them with digital currencies under loyalty programs.

The credit card giant said on Monday it would offer these services in partnership with Bakkt Holdings Inc, the digital assets platform founded by NYSE-owner Intercontinental Exchange.

Founded in 2018, Bakkt went public earlier this year through a $2.1 billion (€1.8 million) merger with a blank-check company. Shares of the company were up 77 per cent at $16.19 (€14) on Monday.

What will it change?

Mastercard said its partners can also allow customers earn and spend rewards in cryptocurrency instead of loyalty points.

“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.”

The company had said in February it would begin offering support for some cryptocurrencies on its network this year.

Last year, rival Visa Inc had partnered with cryptocurrency startup BlockFi to offer a credit card that lets users earn bitcoin on purchases.

Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, touched a record high of $67,016 (€57,710) last week after the debut of the first US bitcoin futures-based exchange traded fund. It has more than doubled in value this year.

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