Mastercard, the world’s largest credit card company, announced a partnership on Monday morning that will allow its network of partners.
The new partnership includes banks and merchants, to offer cryptocurrency credit card rewards and products, thereby increasing access to digital assets at a time when ongoing institutional adoption is helping to lift the cryptocurrency market to meteoric new highs.
On Monday, Mastercard said that it has partnered with the Georgia-based digital wallet firm Bakkt to begin selling bitcoin products and services to its business partners in the United States beginning this month.
Using bitcoin as a reward for transactions, rather than traditional loyalty points, firms will be able to give their consumers the opportunity to spend their cryptocurrency holdings in exchange for goods and services, the company stated.
As well as bitcoin debit and credit cards, banks will be able to issue cryptocurrency-linked cards, similar to the ones already supplied by Visa.
Although Mastercard stock rose just 0.4 percent as a result of the announcement, shares of Bakkt, which had its debut on the New York Stock Exchange last week, soared more than 86 percent on Monday morning, boosting the three-year-old company’s market valuation to over $850 million.
Mastercard’s new cryptocurrency products are an extension of the company’s expanding involvement in the still-developing digital asset industry.
It was just a few weeks ago that the corporation announced the acquisition of Silicon Valley-based cryptocurrency analytics startup Ciphertrace for an unknown sum, asserting in a statement that “digital assets have the potential to reimagine commerce.”
Previous partnerships with fintech startup Uphold and cryptocurrency exchange Gemini have resulted in the development of crypto credit cards. Mastercard has also built tools to assist governments in the testing of central bank digital currencies.
According to a report released on Monday by Mastercard, 77 percent of Millennials expressed an interest in knowing more about cryptocurrencies, with almost 75 percent stating that they would use cryptocurrency more if they had a better understanding.
The cryptocurrency market has increased in value by about thrice in the last year alone, reaching a total market capitalization of $2.7 trillion, thanks in part to increased acceptance by traditional financial institutions.
The creation of the first bitcoin-linked exchange-traded fund in the United States this week contributed to an almost 20 percent increase in bitcoin prices, which reached an all-time high of about $67,000.