Mastercard has partnered with a crypto exchange Bakkt to broaden the cryptocurrency services it offers to partners. This partnership will let Mastercard’s partners – including banks, merchants and fintech firms – will be able to roll out crypto investment tools for their users through custodial wallets. They might also explore issuing crypto debit or credit cards. Also, Mastercard plans to integrate crypto with loyalty products, where crypto tokens replace loyalty points.

Who is Bakkt? The Georgia-based company, founded in 2018, initially focused on developing Bitcoin futures contracts and a custodial service that can be used by hedge funds and other institutional investors to store their digital assets. The business has since expanded, partnering with travel and leisure companies such as Choice Hotels and Starbucks to allow their customers to convert loyalty points into cash or buy a cup of coffee with their coin via their app.

"Mastercard is committed to offering a wide range of payment solutions that deliver more choice, value and impact every day,” said Sherri Haymond, executive vice president of digital partnerships at Mastercard, in a statement. “Together with Bakkt and grounded by our principled approach to innovation, we’ll not only empower our partners to offer a dynamic mix of digital assets options but also deliver differentiated and relevant consumer experiences."

Trading on NYSE since 18th Oct’ 21 under the ticket ‘BKKT’ it was launched by Intercontinental Exchange in 2018 was acquired via a SPAC Deal with VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings. Since Bakkat’s listing last week, the stocks have risen by around 50% to $15 at the time of writing.

What is a SPAC? SPAC, or ‘special purpose acquisition company’, is another name for a "blank check company," meaning an entity with no commercial operations that completes an initial public offering (IPO). After becoming a public company, the SPAC then merges with (or acquires, but usually merges with) an existing private company, thereby making it public.