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Visa and Mastercard have both been busy recently investing in more time and money in the crypto space

The month of July was especially fruitful for crypto enthusiasts globally with several leading payment behemoths and IT giants coming out in support of cryptocurrencies and hinted on aggressively working on the technology underlying digital assets to make it more mainstream.

Mastercard partnered with UK-based Wirex in a move which makes the latter the first native cryptocurrency platform to be granted a Mastercard principal membership, allowing it to directly issue payment cards.

“The cryptocurrency market continues to mature, and Mastercard is driving it forward, creating safe and secure experiences for consumers and businesses in today’s digital economy,” said Raj Dhamodharan, Executive Vice President, Digital Asset and Blockchain Products and Partnerships, Mastercard. “Our work with Wirex and the wider crypto ecosystem is accelerating innovation and empowering consumers with more choice in the way they pay.”

Also in July, Visa underlined its crypto commitment, saying it ‘has been working closely with licenced and regulated digital currency platforms like Coinbase and Fold to provide a bridge between digital currencies and our existing global network of 61 million merchants’.

Visa has also invested in Anchorage, joining Blockchain Capital and Andreessen Horowitz in Anchorage’s $40 million Series B funding round. Anchorage is a startup that secures cryptocurrency holdings for institutional investors.

While both Mastercard and Visa are believed to have started working with some of the existing coins, what came as a surprise was Indian-originated global IT major Tata Consulting Services (TCS) announcing that it plans to launch a cryptocurrency trading solution for banks. This provided a much-needed boost among the crypto traders, investors and other stakeholders.

The announcement from TCS, one of the most valuable companies in India, comes at a time when the Indian government is still unsure about its stance on cryptocurrencies. While the country’s apex court had lifted a two-year old banking ban on crypto trading, some of the banks still have restrictions on crypto trading and are being doubly cautious. However, TCS’ decision to work around cryptos is being seen as a very bold step by the company.

TCS plans to launch its Quartz Smart Solution for Crypto Services in a bid to help financial institutions offer cryptocurrency trading. The solution would allow banks and investment firms to enable investments and portfolio diversification into cryptocurrencies and other digital assets for their clients.

“The solution is designed to support multiple and cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, digital currencies linked to fiat currencies, trading venues and public blockchain networks,” the company said it a statement.

TCS, which has presence in 46 countries and revenues worth $22 billion, further added that the solution would help banks and other financial institutions offer their customers the ability to make financial transactions in the form of digital cash. TCS is carrying out the crypto project through its incubated startup Quartz that enables existing systems to integrate with blockchain platforms.

The heightened focus on blockchain and cryptocurrencies by leading players is also a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has forced people to maintain physical distancing and banks to go digital. More and more banks are seeking blockchain technology to survive the pandemic.

“Progressive financial institutions are looking forward to provide these options to their clientele. We are excited to offer them our robust, secure and scalable solution for trading, storing and transfer of these assets,” said R Vivekanand, TCS’ Global Head for Quartz.

TCS’ decision on cryptocurrencies will also boost blockchain related innovations in India that have either been stalled or slowed down due to lack of clear regulatory guidelines. According to sources, there are several Indian banks that have shown keen interest in using blockchain and DLT for carrying out financial transactions but are unable to do so as the anti-crypto lobby in the country is far more aggressive.