Gemini, Mastercard to Launch Crypto Rewards Card

Rewards will be delivered immediately, rather than monthly as with most points or cash-back programs, and deposited into customers’ Gemini accounts automatically.

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Blockworks exclusive art by Axel Rangel

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key takeaways

  • Cardholders will earn up to 3% back in the cryptocurrency of their choice when the card launches this summer
  • Salt Lake City, UT-based WebBank will issue the card

Gemini has made Mastercard the exclusive card network for its bitcoin-back credit card, which will launch this summer. Salt Lake City, UT-based WebBank will issue the card.

Cardholders will earn up to 3% back in the cryptocurrency of their choice from the 30 available. Gemini will deliver rewards immediately, rather than monthly as with most points or cash-back programs, and deposit rewards into its customers’ accounts automatically. 

“Our work with Gemini builds upon our strong foundation and commitment to enabling choice and peace of mind when people shop and pay,” Linda Kirkpatrick, president of North America at Mastercard, said in a press release Tuesday. “As the demand for digital currencies grows, so too does the need to meaningfully integrate it into day-to-day life.”

Gemini cardholders will benefit from World Mastercard benefits, which include features like exclusive DoorDash, Lyft and ShopRunner partnerships, as well as exclusive Mastercard experiences. Mastercard has been courting fintech companies more aggressively, Over the past year, it has won top fintech clients, including Brex, Dave, MoneyLion and SoFi, which last year flipped from Visa.

Bitcoin rewards

Gemini is among a slew of companies offering bitcoin rewards cards, including BlockFi, Fold, Celsius and Crypto.com.

“There is somewhat of a perfect storm for crypto rewards for multiple populations of people who aren’t being served by traditional travel rewards,” said Brian Kelly, aka The Points Guy, told Blockworks earlier this month.

The Covid-19 pandemic halted most travel and dining over the past year. Many consumers have seen the value of their credit card points plummet. At the same time, cryptocurrencies are becoming more mainstream, thanks in part to trillions of dollars in government stimulus, and looming concerns from both consumers and corporates about dollar debasement.

At the end of the day, cryptocurrencies still haven’t proved their place in banks’ card portfolios. However, Gemini believes digital assets will take a large portion of market share from other rewards programs and hopes to partner with some of them on future programs.

“Large issuers are very aware of what’s happening in the crypto ecosystem and are actively exploring their crypto strategy,” Thomas Harrison, Group Product Manager at Gemini, told Blockworks last month. “Many of these banks have large customer bases who want access to cryptocurrency. Rather than building out their own infrastructure to offer and custody crypto rewards, banks can work with a market leader like Gemini to provide their customers with the option to convert cash back rewards into cryptocurrency.”

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