Mastercard, the US-based financial service, announced that it will be allowing partner banks, merchants, and fintech companies to provide their own customers with cryptocurrency-based services and loyalty rewards. To mark the occasion, the financial body has partnered up with the digital wallet app, Bakkt, in the US.
As per the official statement, Mastercard’s decision to support cryptocurrency-based services is due to the growing adoption of the medium by consumers, particularly in the US. More specifically, Bakkt says that of the 2000 consumers it surveyed, 48% of its consumers had purchased cryptocurrency within the first half of this year. In regards to Bakkt as the institute’s choice, that is because the digital wallet already offers its consumers the ability to trade or make payments using cryptocurrency.
It is important to note that this isn’t the first time Mastercard has dipped its toes into the cryptocurrency pool and is, in fact, more of a U-turn by the financial institution. Back in 2019, the company was one of several major backers of Libra, Facebook’s cryptocurrency. Sadly for the social network, the initiative never took off due to the multitude of reason and legal concerns, and Mastercard – along with several other financial partners – pulled its support for the digital coin within the same year.
While this may spell good news for adopters of cryptocurrency, an important follow-up question would be when other financial services, such as Visa or American Express, will follow suit and adopt the medium. On another note, Mastercard is also being ambiguous about the type of cryptocurrency it supports; it’s clear that Bitcoin will be the de facto coin it supports but hopefully, it will allow its partners to offer their customers to trade using other coins.
At the time of writing, there is no word if or when Mastercard will extend the same courtesy to merchant partners in Malaysia, but it is unlikely that it will do so, given our country’s own stringent regulations on the use of cryptocurrency.