Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) announced Wednesday that it will offer its customers the ability to trade and hold cryptocurrency assets, using its mobile CommBank app. This move makes CBA the first bank on that continent to announce plans to provide crypto services to clients. While no specific date was given for the crypto functionality to launch on the app, CBA stated that it will be rolled out in stages over the coming weeks with the goal of delivering “…more features to more customers in 2022.”
As part of the announcement, CBA stated that its collaborating with Gemini, a leading U.S.-based crypto exchange and wallet custodian as the primary provider of the crypto user interface. Gemini will provide the ability for CBA customers to buy and sell digital assets. Gemini also provides a proven custodial wallet solution for online storage of crypto assets, which will make it easier for crypto neophytes to get started in the space.
On the backend of the CBA crypto offering, they’re also working with Chainalysis, a global leader in blockchain data and analytics. The Chainalysis collaboration is intended to ensure CBA’s compliance teams are able to track, target, and terminate any cybercrime or hacking threat that might access their systems through various crypto access points.
CBA further stated that it plans to offer its app users the ability to transact with an initial slate of ten crypto assets.That selection includes: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash for starters. The bank cited its own research as a driver of this decision, since a significant number of its customers expressed strong demand for access to cryptos as an asset class. The bank further noted that a large number of its surveyed retail investors already had exposure to programmable money and were already trading and storing digital assets on various crypto exchanges.
“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,”
said CEO Matt Comyn, in the CBA press release.
“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.”
On The Flipside
- Banks embracing crypto run counter to the underlying premise articulated in Bitcoin’s 2008 white paper.
- Blockchain was originally created to bypass big banking, not allow big banking to co-opt crypto.
Why You Should Care?
It’s likely that this trend will accelerate as more commercial banks recognize more customers demanding access to crypto and services.