American payments giant Mastercard has announced that its customers can now buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency, in addition to being able to deliver unique, crypto-centric loyalty opportunities, and streamline the issuance of branded crypto debit and credit cards.
The broad range of capabilities was made possible with the company’s partnership with Bakkt exchange, further extending the duo’s relationship. The central focus is to enhance the avenues by which merchants, banks, and fintech in the United States embrace and offer a broad set of cryptocurrency solutions and services to the public.
“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.”
The partnership draws on the existing crypto-as-a-service offering from Bakkt which provides quick access to cryptocurrency capabilities. As a tech payment service giant with a broader mainstream reach, Mastercard will help scale this service to millions of retail consumers through its merchant network. Improving the utilities that surround digital currencies is a viable way to draw the interest of the public into the crypto ecosystem.
Mastercard Crypto Solutions: Attracting the Younger Generation
There is currently a general trend in which investors are gradually seeking out avenues to gain exposure to the crypto ecosystem. Studies from surveys by both Mastercard and Bakkt indicate that more millennials or younger investors are growing more curious about digital currencies, and the crypto solution is aimed at bridging this gap.
In the Bakkt U.S. Consumer Crypto Survey of 2,000 U.S. Consumers, close to 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. Mastercard’s survey also reveals that 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.”