Cryptocurrency payments just went a little more mainstream, as Mastercard announced on Monday that it was partnering with Bakkt Holdings to offer crypto-enabled credit and debit cards.
Banks and other financial institutions will be able to issue crypto cards through Mastercard, with the Bakkt platform performing the transactions. In addition to using the cards for purchases, cardholders can earn rewards in crypto instead of points. The Bakkt platform will also have digital wallets, where people can buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrency credit and debit cards from companies like Gemini, Uphold, and BitPay already exist, but on a much smaller scale. The Mastercard/Bakkt partnership could be a game changer for crypto because any company with an existing payments relationship with Mastercard can now offer and accept crypto.
Interest in cryptocurrencies has been growing quickly. In 2015, PwC’s consumer cryptocurrency survey showed 83% of people were slightly familiar or not at all familiar with cryptocurrencies. Fast forward to 2021, and 48% of U.S. consumers reported investing money in cryptocurrency during the first half of the year and of those who hadn’t yet invested, 32% were interested in buying cryptocurrency in the next six months, according to Bakkt’s U.S. consumer crypto survey released in September.
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