Payments behemoth Mastercard announced at Money20/20 a multifaceted partnership with Bakkt to make it easier for US merchants, banks and fintechs to adopt and deliver a broad range of cryptocurrency solutions and services.
With this partnership, Mastercard will integrate cryptocurrency into its loyalty solutions, allowing its partners to offer cryptocurrency as rewards and create fungibility between loyalty points and other digital assets. This means that consumers can earn and spend rewards in cryptocurrency instead of traditional loyalty points, and seamlessly convert their crypto assets to pay for purchases.
In addition, consumers will be able to convert their crypto assets to pay for purchases and hold digital assets via their custodial wallets on the Bakkt platform.
Mastercard said in February that it was preparing to support cryptocurrencies on its network. The network said that at that time more and more people were using cards to buy crypto assets like bitcoin, and they were using crypto cards to convert these assets into traditional currencies to access and spend.
“Mastercard is committed to offering a wide range of payment solutions that deliver more choice, value and impact every day,” said Sherri Haymond, executive vice president, Digital Partnerships at Mastercard. “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.”
Bakkt’s consumer platform, available to partners through the recently launched Bakkt app and through the Bakkt platform, focuses on boosting consumer spending and adding value for all key stakeholders in the Bakkt payments and digital asset ecosystem by supporting loyalty programs. Launched in 2018, Bakkt was publicly listed on the NYSE under the ticker BKKT on October 18, 2021.
“We’re incredibly excited to partner with Mastercard to bring crypto loyalty services to millions of consumers,” said Nancy Gordon, EVP, Loyalty Rewards & Payments at Bakkt. “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.”
Following the partnership announcement, Bakkt shares more than tripled to $30.60, while Mastercard shares rose 0.6% to $360.86.