Commonwealth Bank of Australia to begin Crypto trading for Customers

FILE PHOTO: The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) logo is pictured at the Australian bank's headquarters in Sydney, Australia, February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has concluded plans to commence crypto trading on its digital app. The service will be available for the 6.5 million users who use the CommBank app.

The decision will make CBA the first bank in Australia to provide support for crypto. To launch its crypto service, the bank has partnered with crypto exchange Gemini and blockchain analysis firm Chainanalysis. It was inevitable once the bank’s research showed that its customers were either interested in or were already trading cryptocurrencies.

According to CBA CEO Matt Comyn, “We believe we can play an important role in crypto to address what’s clearly a growing customer need and provide capability, security and confidence in a crypto trading platform.”

The bank will launch a pilot program in the weeks ahead. Subsequently, a major rollout will happen in 2022 following iterations. In the initial stage, the bank app will support trading of up to ten cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), and more.

Regarding the partnership, Dave Abner, global head of business development at Gemini expressed the pleasure of working with Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “The exponential growth of digital assets internationally, coupled with Gemini’s institutional-grade security and proactive regulatory approach, positions this partnership to set a new standard for banks and financial platforms in Australia and across the globe,” he said.

Perfect Timing for CBA Crypto Move With Australia’s Changing Cryptocurrency Landscape

CBA’s announcement is just the latest development in a rapidly developing cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Two years ago, an Australian bank allegedly de-banked a citizen, Allan Flynn for being a Digital Currency Exchange. Likewise, there have been several other reports by fintechs and crypto organizations.

Recently, it led to a senate inquiry into the treatment of several crypto businesses by financial institutions. The committee recommended that the government should regulate the sector to allow its full operation in the country. Also, we recently reported that the ASIC issued guidelines on crypto investments.

Combined with Austrapac’s comment on debanking, CBA’s move seems well-timed move and could allow the bank to gain a first mover’s advantage in the market.

Steve Vallas, CEO of Blockchain Australia believes that other banks like National Australia Bank (NAB), Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), and Westpac will also follow suit.

He said, “It is inevitable that the other banks will follow suit. Clarity in the local regulatory landscape is emerging with issues such as licensing being tackled head-on by industry and by governments.”