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Mastercard Inc. is making it easier for banks to offer cryptocurrency rewards on their credit and debit cards as part of the payment network’s recent embrace of digital currencies. 

To pull it off, Mastercard has inked a deal with Bakkt, the cryptocurrencies firm that spun off from Intercontinental Exchange earlier this year, according to a statement Monday. As part of the changes, Mastercard will also make it easier for consumers to spend the cryptocurrency rewards they earn at the millions of retailers on the firm’s network. 

“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," Sherri Haymond, executive vice president of digital partnerships at Mastercard, said in the statement. 

CNBC reported the partnership earlier Monday. Bakkt shares surged 40% to $12.78 at 9:33 am in New York. Mastercard shares climbed 1.2%. 

Mastercard said earlier this year it would begin allowing cardholders to transact in certain cryptocurrencies on its network. In July, the payments giant said it would work with startups focused on crypto and digital assets as part of its push to make it easier for consumers to buy, spend and hold cryptocurrencies.

 

 

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