Crypto Platform Bakkt Inks Two Massive Partnerships Amid Public Debut — Stock Soars by Over 230%

Financial Markets Wall Street Bakkt, New York, United States - 18 Oct 2021
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Crypto platform Bakkt, which went public earlier this month on the New York Stock Exchange, has partnered with two financial giants — Mastercard and Fiserv — to expand crypto access to both behemoths’ customers. Following the news, Bakkt’s stock soared 234% yesterday, according to The Motley Fool.

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“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Mastercard to combine loyalty and crypto to create new and innovative options for merchants and consumers,” Gavin Michael, CEO of Bakkt, told GOBankingRates. “Broad adoption of digital assets is already underway and embedding opportunities for consumers to transact in and earn rewards in crypto, will lower barriers and accelerate the trend.”

The partnership with Mastercard will enable consumers to buy, sell and hold digital assets through custodial wallets powered by the Bakkt platform and streamlined issuance of branded crypto debit and credit cards, according to an announcement. Mastercard will also integrate crypto into its loyalty solutions, enabling its partners to offer cryptocurrency as rewards and create fungibility between loyalty points and other digital assets. This means that consumers can earn and spend rewards in cryptocurrency instead of traditional loyalty points and seamlessly convert their crypto holdings to pay for purchases, according to the announcement.

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Mastercard is committed to offering a wide range of payment solutions that deliver more choice, value and impact every day,” Sherri Haymond, executive vice president, Digital Partnerships at Mastercard, said in the announcement. “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.”

Related: Robinhood’s Crypto Wallet Waitlist Tops 1 Million Signups

As for the partnership with Fiserv, it will “enable practical uses of crypto and emerging market classes,” according to an announcement.

“This partnership with Fiserv marks an important moment as we together create opportunities for consumers to seamlessly and at their own pace introduce digital assets into their daily habits,” Sheela Zemlin, Chief Revenue Officer at Bakkt, said in the announcement. “Whether it be buying bitcoin from within a financial institution’s app, redeeming loyalty points from their favorite restaurant for merchandise, using a digital asset wallet, or getting paid in bitcoin for their side gig grocery delivery runs, consumers will have new opportunities to participate in the digital economy.”

While interest in cryptocurrencies is growing among consumers and businesses alike, many companies have been hesitant to enter the crypto space, Joe Tenebruso, a contributing Motley Fool analyst, told GOBankingRates.

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“Cyber hacks, fraud, and other nefarious behavior are rampant in the crypto markets, which have long — and rightfully — been viewed as the Wild West of the financial world,” he added.

“Bakkt, together with Mastercard and Fiserv, wants to build financial infrastructure that could make it safer for businesses to offer a wide array of crypto services to their customers. Investors are clearly excited about the potential of Bakkt’s new partnerships — and they bid up its stock to reflect their now heightened enthusiasm for its crypto-fueled growth prospects,” he continued.

Earlier this month, the company had announced a partnership with Google, which enables users to add their virtual Bakkt Visa Debit Card into Google Pay to purchase goods and services online or in-store. Digital assets such as bitcoin will be converted to fiat currency for these payments to occur, according to a statement.

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Bakkt, launched in 2018 by Intercontinental Exchange, announced in January that it was planning to go public, with an enterprise value of approximately $2.1 billion, according to the announcement. The public listing for Bakkt follows the business combination merger with VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings, a Chicago-based special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

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Last updated: October 26, 2021

About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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