Payments giant Mastercard is readying to announce that its vast network of banks and merchants will be soon allowed to integrate cryptocurrencies into their operations. The company is pursuing these plans in partnership with crypto platform Bakkt.
The products to be covered by this expansion are to include bitcoin (BTC) wallets, credit and debit cards enabled to earn crypto rewards and spend digital assets, as well as loyalty programs that allow airline customers and hotel guests to convert their amassed points into crypto, CNBC reported.
“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, Executive Vice President of digital partnerships at Mastercard, was quoted as saying.
Executives at the two firms said that Bakkt will be responsible for providing custodial services to those partners who will sign up.
Mastercard says it has partnerships with more than 22,000 financial institutions globally. Given the size of the company’s global payments infrastructure, the forthcoming expansion could boost cryptocurrency adoption across the world.
Mastercard said last July it hosted some 27.2bn switched transactions in the second quarter of 2021, with 2.85bn Mastercard and Maestro cards in use. This translated into a total net revenue of USD 4.53bn between April and June 2021, a robust 35.8% increase compared with the same period a year earlier.
The latest development is part of Mastercard’s broader crypto-oriented drive. Last September, the payments giant agreed to take over crypto intelligence firm CipherTrace amid plans to “extend its capabilities deep into the field of digital assets.”