Mastercard is preparing to announce that any of the thousands of banks and millions of merchants on its payments network can soon integrate crypto into their products according to CNBC.
This includes bitcoin wallets, credit and debit cards that generate cryptocurrency rewards and allow digital assets to be spent, and loyalty schemes in which airline or hotel points may be turned into bitcoin.
To that end, the payments network is collaborating with Bakkt, a cryptocurrency firm recently spun off by Intercontinental Exchange, which will be the behind-the-scenes provider of custodial services for those who sign up.
“We want to offer all of our partners the ability to more easily add crypto services to whatever it is they’re doing,” Sherri Haymond, Mastercard’s executive vice president of digital partnerships, said in an interview. “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.”
The announcement could result in a huge increase in how ordinary Americans earn and spend bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Mastercard, together with Visa, operates one of the most dominant global payment networks and has agreements with over 20,000 financial institutions worldwide. According to the corporation, there are 2.8 billion Mastercards in use.