Mastercard Launches Crypto Rewards Card With Gemini

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In Brief
  • In partnership with Gemini, Mastercard is launching the first credit card offering digital currency “rewards” on purchases.

  • The card is being issued in the United States by Utah-based digital lender WebBank.

  • This is the latest step in payment services increasing their engagement with cryptocurrencies.

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In partnership with U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, Mastercard is launching the first credit card offering digital currency “rewards” on purchases.



“As consumers go about spending in various acceptance locations, now they get a chance to earn reward in the form of crypto,” said Mastercard’s head of digital assets and blockchain products and partnerships, Raj Dhamodharan. 

From the summertime, users of the card could receive up to 3% in bitcoin (BTC) or other cryptocurrencies on their purchases. The digital currency will be deposited in the cardholder’s Gemini account. Utah-based digital lender WebBank will issue the card in the United States.



Payment services increase engagement with crypto

In February, Mastercard had said it planned to offer support for some cryptocurrencies on its network later this year. This move is just the latest in payment services stepping up their engagement with cryptocurrencies.

Last month, PayPal launched “Checkout with Crypto.” This lets PayPal’s American customers pay with bitcoin, ether (ETH), bitcoin cash (BCH), and litecoin (LTC). It works by converting holdings into U.S. dollars during checkout, with no extra transaction fees.

However, there is an added expense if converting from another currency. Additionally, users can only pay with one cryptocurrency per transaction. 

Then, just last week, PayPal announced another development with cryptocurrencies. Users of its payment service app Venmo would be able to buy, sell, and hold crypto within the application. According to Darrell Esch, SVP and GM of Venmo, “Crypto on Venmo” enables users to learn about crypto in an environment they trust.

Although it would seem rather natural for the digital payments giant to engage with digital currencies, more traditional payment behemoths, like Mastercard, are also becoming more involved. In March, Visa announced it would allow the use of the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin to settle transactions.

According to the announcement, Visa spent the last year enabling the capacity for digital currency settlement within its existing infrastructure. The company launched a pilot program with payment and crypto platform Crypto.com.

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Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage. He can best be described as an optimistic center-left skeptic.

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