In its latest press release, payment giant Mastercard announced a partnership with cryptocurrency exchange Bakkt to expand the range of cryptocurrency services offered to partners.

The main goal of the initiative of the two companies, according to their representatives, is to provide the fastest and most convenient access to the opportunities offered by the digital currency industry. Bakkt will help Mastercard in this, thanks to which banks, merchants, and various fintech companies will get a convenient option for integrating a new asset class into their own products. In addition, Bakkt will provide storage services for those organizations that register as members.

In addition, a press release from the payment system indicates that the company's cardholders will not only be able to earn various rewards in the form of digital currencies, but also conveniently spend them instead of using loyalty points.

According to one of the vice presidents of Mastercard, Sherri Haymond, cooperation with Bakkt will open up the opportunity for banks and other financial institutions to compete with major cryptocurrency exchanges. Haymond emphasized that they will give partners access to a convenient system that seamlessly combines different cryptocurrencies and a differentiated shopping experiences.

Following the news, Bakkt's shares on the NYSE jumped 87% to over $17, nearly double their past few days of trading at $9.15 per share.

Already in 2017, according to the Colloquy Loyalty Census, the number of loyalty program participants among American consumers exceeded 3.8 billion people. And although this information could be shaken due to the COVID-19 pandemic that thundered in 2020, by the end of the first quarter of 2021, Mastercard reported 249 million of its cards, which are actively used by US customers.

In February, Mastercard announced that about 1 billion of its customers worldwide will be able to use services related to cryptocurrencies, connecting more than 30 million merchants to the system. However, at the same time, it was not specified which tokens were in question. Later this summer, CEO Michael Meebach said Mastercard must be in the "crypto space" due to the growing demand for a new asset class among consumers and banks developing their own CBDCs.

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