Central Bank Digital Currency concept

India’s Tata Consultancy Services, Sweden’s Crunchfish to deploy ‘Quartz solution’ for offline CBDCs

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India’s largest information technology service provider, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has entered into a partnership with deep tech company, Crunchfish for central bank digital currency (CBDC) projects around the world.

The partnership between Crunchfish and TCS will augment the Quartz solution for CBDCs with offline payments enabled by Crunchfish’s patented Digital Cash solution. In 2022, TCS said that it had enhanced its award-winning Quartz solution to allow central and commercial banks to support the CBDC issuance, bookkeeping, and transactions.

“We will work closely with TCS to promote solutions to central banks and other parties that require secure, scalable, and resilient solutions in the backend as well as the frontend,” Joachim Samuelsson, chief executive of Crunchfish, said.

Offline payment availability is considered essential in CBDC projects to enable cash-like functionality in digital form. Crunchfish and TCS will work together to offer this combined solution for customers looking to integrate CBDCs into their business landscape,” the statement read.

Crunchfish, with headquarters in Malmö, Sweden, and a subsidiary in India, said it develops an application platform for offline payments, tokenized card payments, and other mobile client/server systems.

TCS is a part of India’s largest multinational business group, the Tata Group, with over 601,000 highly skilled consultants in 55 countries. TCS reported a net income gain of 9% to 124.3 billion rupees ($1.5 billion) in the fourth quarter through March 31, 2024, driven by machine learning, cloud and other artificial intelligence-driven projects.

In March 2024, Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das said that India had about 4.3 million retail CBDC users, while an additional 400,000 merchants were also using the e-rupee. India started its first digital rupee pilot in the wholesale segment on November 1, 2022, while the retail digital rupee pilot began on December 1, 2022.

However, India has recently been struggling to raise public support for its CBDC, or the e-rupee, as usage has dropped in both retail and wholesale segments.

The RBI had successfully hit 1 million daily transactions for its retail CBDC pilot by December 2023, after banks were told to offer incentives to users and a portion of bank employees’ salaries were paid using the e-rupee. However, daily transactions for retail CBDC have now fallen to about 100,000, a Reuters report said, quoting sources it did not identify.

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