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Bakkt’s stock surges on Mastercard, Fiserv deal to broaden use of crypto in payments

Bakkt's stock surges on Mastercard, Fiserv deal to broaden use of crypto in payments
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Bakkt stock rose on the cryptocurrency exchange on Monday, after announcing a partnership with Mastercard (MA) to offer crypto debit and credit cards, making it easier for consumers to pay with digital currencies.

Through Mastercard and Bakkt (BKKT), businesses and banks will be able to issue their own crypto debit and credit cards to consumers who want them. Coin holders can use bitcoins purchased through Bakkt with the card, or link to a fiat-based funding source, and receive bitcoin rewards.

Bakkt stock, which was publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange on October 18, rose in Monday’s session and stopped briefly. With momentum already behind it, Bakkt’s announcement of a separate deal with Fiserv (FISV) sent its shares up a staggering 175% on the day.

“We want to provide choice for the consumer. We want to be able to offer cryptocurrency in everyday transactions,” Bakkt CEO Gavin Michael told Yahoo Finance at the All Markets Summit, on Monday.

Through the Mastercard partnership, businesses will also be able to offer crypto as part of Bakkt-backed loyalty rewards programs. For example, hotels or restaurants that offer points for free rewards or other perks can offer customers the option to convert points into a cryptocurrency of their choice.

The partnership comes as more Americans become interested in dealing in digital assets, with companies and service providers taking incremental steps toward making it easier to deal in cryptocurrencies.

“We’re seeing an increased amount of consumer choice in being able to use their payment method,” Michael said.

“While we are in the early stages of making this run, we are demonstrating the ability of people to be able to provide our merchants the ability to offer these new forms of payment as a way to acquire and attract new customer segments. We are seeing a somewhat younger demographic.”

Nearly half of all respondents bought cryptocurrency in the first half of 2021, according to a Backect survey of 2,000 consumers. According to the MasterCard New Payments Index, 77% of millennials say they are interested in learning more about cryptocurrency, with 75% saying they would use cryptocurrency if they understood it better.

The partnership with Mastercard follows Bakkt’s partnership with Google to allow its users to purchase goods and services using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through the Google Pay wallet and payment system.

Bakkt, which started as a cryptocurrency exchange for institutional investors, has moved into the consumer space with an app that aims to be a tool to allow people to manage their digital assets — including cryptocurrencies — similar to Venmo. Bakkt expects the app to have more than 30 million users in five years.

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