Mastercard Is Integrating Crypto Payments Through a New Partnership With Bakkt

The tie-up will allow merchants and banks to build cryptocurrency into their offerings.

Oct 25, 2021 at 1:54 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 25, 2021 at 9:32 p.m. UTC

Mastercard and digital asset platform Bakkt are partnering to allow merchants and banks to build cryptocurrency into their offerings, the companies announced Monday. The two plan to also shake up the way consumers can collect loyalty rewards.

Mastercard said in a statement that consumers can buy, sell and hold digital assets through custodial wallets offered by Bakkt, and customers can collect and spend loyalty rewards through cryptocurrency.

The move brings the universe of cryptocurrency one step closer to bridging the gap with the traditional credit card payment industry. Bakkt is also appealing to younger consumers, according to its executive vice president of loyalty rewards and payments.

“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,” Bakkt’s Nancy Gordon said in a statement.

Bakkt began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “BKKT” earlier this month after a SPAC deal. Shares surged in trading Monday, rising over 150% and crossed $26 per share.

Last week, American Express CEO Stephen Squeri said he doesn’t currently see crypto as a threat to traditional credit cards.

The Bakkt-Mastercard tie-up is a continuation of the card company’s recent foray into the crypto sector, following last month’s acquisition of compliance firm CipherTrace.

UPDATE (Oct. 25, 18:01 UTC): Adds Bakkt price move.

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Michael Bellusci is CoinDesk's crypto payments reporter.