When project Libra was launched earlier, it had a few interesting partners, Mastercard, and Visa, which is a complete departure from their previous policies. A few years back, both Visa and Mastercard reclassified crypto purchases as cash advances, rather than purchases putting additional charges of at least 5 percent. But recently, things have started changing, especially after the crypto winter. More and more traditional financial giants are stepping in, and now Visa has made more investments into crypto, signaling that it is serious about the new technology. Visa has invested millions of dollars in Anchorage, a startup that secures cryptocurrency holdings for institutional investors.
Visa has been trying to get in the crypto bandwagon for some time. Previously, it had invested in a startup. Visa along with Nasdaq, Citi and others invested $30 million in Chain.com, a blockchain developer platform that serves as an enterprise market. This happened four years back. Additional investors included Capital One, Fiserv and French telecom Orange. The last was interested in the potential for the blockchain to power mobile payments. By Forbes estimates, this series B round of funding brought the San Francisco-based company’s valuation to nearly $150 million. Later, the startup was sold off to another firm Lightyear in late 2018.
Anchorage until a few weeks back was not a name most people were not familiar with, but this changed when its name appeared along with 28 other entities in the Facebook Libra project. It along with Visa, Uber, Spotify, Paypal, and Mastercard are the founding members of the Libra association, and now it seems Visa has a special interest in this previously unknown startup. Anchorage raised $40 million in fresh funding, and Visa is one of the lead investors. The funding round was co-lead by Blockchain Capital. Terry Angelos, who leads Visa’s efforts in financial tech, or fintech, said in a statement that Visa is interested in supporting “companies like Anchorage who are working to provide secure infrastructure to the growing ecosystem of digital assets”. Unlike the cold storage approach taken by a lot of people, Anchorage makes use of multilayer security measures like biometrics, human reviews, etc.
The crypto winter has long passed, and now it seems spring is in full force. Although not a significant investment when considering the size of Visa, it signals that Visa is serious about crypto. And we can expect more of such moves from Visa in the future, which will force Mastercard to act as well. Many in the community see the arrival of financial companies as a threat, and they have valid reasons for those fears. But a majority in the community are excited about these new developments.
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