The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) officially announced today, November 3, 2021, that it will be adding cryptocurrency services to its CommBank mobile app, which include the ability to buy, sell and hold crypto.
The CBA has partnered with cryptocurrency exchange Gemini and blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis to provide the infrastructure support needed to provide the exchange and custody services.
Australia’s First Bank to Support Crypto
Over the past couple of years, Australian banks have been trialling blockchain technology to ensure bank guarantees and cross-border payments, but as one of the ‘Big Four’ banks in Australia, the big move by the CBA to support cryptocurrencies is surprising.
CBA CEO Matt Comyn explains the dual reason for the move is growing demand from customers and the emergence of new competition:
The emergence and growing demand for digital currencies from customers creates both challenges and opportunities for the financial services sector, which has seen a significant number of new players and business models innovating in this area.
CBA CEO Matt Comyn
Comyn is also hosting a couple of events on November 9 and 10 where CBA customers can ask questions to get more information on the new services.
Up to 10 Cryptos Supported
As stated by the CBA: “The pilot will start in the coming weeks and CBA intends to progressively roll out more features to more customers in 2022.” The bank will provide customers with access to up to 10 selected crypto assets including:
- Bitcoin Cash
Crypto Banking Controversy
Just recently we saw a local Bitcoin trader file a lawsuit against two of the Big Four Australian banks, claiming they terminated his banking services on the basis that he operated a crypto trading platform. One of them, the ANZ, has already settled.
Whilst this announcement from Commonwealth Bank is certainly a promising sign that Bitcoin is further establishing itself within the mainstream spotlight, there needs to be further education for users that taking control and ownership of your digital assets is still an incredibly important element of this technology. No longer do we need to hand over the keys to our wealth to banks or third-party organisations
Chris Pavlesic, CEO and founder, Coinstop
Today’s news raises more questions than answers. Will we now see a change in attitude from banks towards cryptocurrencies? Will the banks now control our private keys? What other banks might jump on the bandwagon? And what other services and coins will be introduced in the future?
With an expected five million Australians owning cryptocurrencies in 2021, it seems a timely move by the CBA to capture some of the capital and stop the huge outflow of money from bank accounts to crypto exchanges.
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