Today at Money20/20, Mastercard (NYSE: MA) and Bakkt (NYSE: BKKT) announced a multifaceted partnership to make it easier for merchants, banks and fintechs in the U.S. to embrace and offer a broad set of cryptocurrency solutions and services. Consumers, in turn, will experience expanded access to the digital asset ecosystem.
Bakkt extends Mastercard’s ecosystem of cryptocurrency partners enabling Crypto-as-a-Service, which provides quick access to cryptocurrency capabilities. Through the power of the Mastercard network and Bakkt’s trusted digital asset platform, Mastercard partners will be able to offer cryptocurrency solutions. These include the ability for consumers to buy, sell and hold digital assets through custodial wallets powered by the Bakkt platform and streamlined issuance of branded crypto debit and credit cards.
Mastercard will also integrate crypto into its loyalty solutions, enabling 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 holdings to pay for purchases. This is the latest move by Mastercard to bring innovative loyalty options to consumers that align with their passion points.
“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.”
Consumers continue to seek out crypto assets as an option for everyday purchases. In the Bakkt U.S. Consumer Crypto Survey1 of 2,000 U.S. Consumers, nearly half (48%) of respondents reported purchasing crypto in the first half of 2021, while 32% of those who didn’t are either very or somewhat interested in doing so before year-end. And, according to the Mastercard New Payments Index, 77% of millennials stated that they are interested in learning more about cryptocurrency, with 75% saying that they would use cryptocurrency if they understood it better.
“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.”
This partnership builds on both companies’ commitment to the crypto ecosystem. Bakkt publicly listed on the NYSE under the ticker BKKT on October 18, 2021, while Mastercard continues to invest in the digital asset space through several initiatives. This includes the acquisition of CipherTrace, partnerships with leading crypto players, the creation of new platforms to test and support central bank digital currencies, and more.