Payments giant Mastercard has disclosed that it will soon allow banks and merchants on its broad network to offer crypto-related services.
Revealed in a CNBC report Monday, the move will allow banks and merchants to offer products such as bitcoin wallets, debits and credit cards that earn crypto rewards, and loyalty rewards that payout crypto to customers.
Mastercard’s Executive VP of Digital Partnerships, Sherri Haymond, reportedly noted that the partnership will give the company’s millions of partners “the ability to more easily add crypto services to whatever it is they’re doing.”
The most recent development at Mastercard is in partnership with Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) backed crypto startup, Bakkt. Bakkt will provide custodial services for the assets, while Mastercard offers front-end integrations.
It is estimated that there are up to 2.8 billion Mastercards in use, a statistic that demonstrates the scope of mass adoption that the company’s involvement brings to the $2 trillion crypto industry.
Mastercard’s Crypto Venture Not Surprising
It is worth noting that Mastercard’s foray into the crypto space is not entirely surprising, especially after major competitor Visa has stolen all the headlines for key integrations in recent months.
Back in February, Mastercard published an exhaustive piece explaining why it is bringing crypto onto its network. The company said at the time that it will “start supporting select cryptocurrencies directly on [its] network.”
The decision to do so is a result of the continued adoption of cryptocurrencies, especially as “users increasingly take advantage of crypto cards to access these assets and convert them to traditional currencies for spending.”
Mastercard will be looking to tap into this emerging market in the coming months and will likely work with partners to issue crypto-native cards just like Visa has done. The company also reports working with central banks on digital currency pilot projects and already holds a number of patents for blockchain-based payment systems.
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