MasterCard Warms Up to Crypto Credit and Debit Cards

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The world of crypto is inching closer and closer to mainstream adoption as more of the world’s largest institutions continue to ramp up efforts to be part of the revolution. Mastercard, one of the world’s leading payment services providers, is the most recent organization that is making a big play for crypto.

Recently, the company has revealed its plans to make it easier for its users to use digital currencies. Both customers and merchants with Mastercards will have the opportunity to use debit and credit cards with crypto capabilities. In addition to that, the customers will also have the chance to buy, sell and hold some of the digital currencies. For this group of users, Mastercard is also preparing to launch branded crypto cards.

Partnership With Bakkt

Crypto markets around the globe have grown immensely over the years. While it is certainly not too later for new players to enter the market, success usually depends on having the right partners. Mastercard’s venture into the crypto market is happening via a recently-announced partnership with Bakkt, a digital asset platform popular among crypto users.

As per the terms of the agreement, Bakkt will be working behind the scenes as a provider of custodial service for those who sign for Mastercard’s crypto offering. The crypto firm’s custodial wallets are what will make it possible for users to trade and hold crypto.

“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.

In a sense, this is a major extension of a previous announcement Mastercard made regarding allowing crypto transactions via its network. That promise is shaping up quite nicely.

The Implications

Mastercard’s announcement represents a unique opportunity for cryptocurrency expansion in the United States as well as other parts of the world. To begin with, sectors such as online casinos and gaming that rely on crypto will likely have more ways of using digital currencies. Increased interest in crypto is also impacting the interested companies in rather unexpected ways.

For instance, MasterCard stock went up just 0.4% following the announcement. That is modest but it proves that there is interest in the crypto sector. Shares of Bakkt, on the other hand, skyrocketed more than 86% after the announcement. That lifted the company’s market capitalization to about a whopping $850 million.

LeoVegas Ventures into Esports Betting with Pixel.bet

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Mobile casino specialist LeoVegas, through its wholly-owned investment company LeoVentures Ltd., has recently made its debut into the esports betting market. This move was officiated last Thursday when the Stockholm-listed LeoVegas announced that its LeoVenture’s arm had purchased a 51 percent stake in the Malta-based esports betting platform Pixel.bet for a whopping €1.5m payable through issued shares. The acquisition deal is expected to close in in the current quarter of the year through a new share issue.

The gambling industry has been rather laid back when it comes to esports betting, only making tentative forays into the space but this is beginning to change thanks to the explosive growth of esports in terms of attendance, viewership, sponsorships, and media coverage. These developments have pushed more gambling operators or at least consider the possibility.

“Esports is an international and fast-growing area that engages millions of viewers and players every month. With this investment in Pixel.bet we as a Group will gain a unique insight into a new and fast-growing segment,” commented Gustaf Hagman, the LeoVegas’ Group CEO and co-founder of LeoVegas Mobile Gaming Group.

This is a huge step forward for esports betting and even though Pixel.bet will initially not have a significant effect on the LeoVegas Group’s revenue or financial standing, the acquisition is expected to pay off decently in the long run.

“In Pixel.bet we have found a passionate team of entrepreneurs who come from the esports community,” Robin Ramm-Ericson, Managing Director of LeoVentures and co-founder of LeoVegas Mobile Gaming Group, said. “With its strong technology and mobile-first gaming experience, Pixel.bet is a perfect match for the LeoVegas Mobile Gaming Group. Together we will drive development for the absolute premier experience in esports betting.”

The Pixel Holding Group has confirmed via its Pixel.bet entity that it is now ready to embark on a new phase of operations that will primarily be about “gearing up for a broader launch of its business”. Sweden and the Nordics are reportedly the initial focus markets for the company though it is still eying further international growth.

“We love esports. And we love betting. We want to create value for enthusiasts and add something truly extra to our community. Pixel.bet is, for example, the first to offer log-in with mobile BankID and instant withdrawals. In LeoVentures we have now found a unique partner and investor that understands and shares our passion,” stated Eirik Kristiansen, CEO of Pixel.bet.