Australia’s popular bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), will start allowing its customers to purchase, hold, and sell crypto assets through its digital app.
The announcement makes Commonwealth bank the first major bank in Australia to break industry ranks as it seeks to match offerings from rival fintech firms.
Matt Comyn, the CEO of Commonwealth Bank, talked about the development and said: “We believe we can play an important role in crypto to address what’s clearly a growing customer need and provide the capability, security and confidence in a crypto trading platform.”
The CBA stated that research it conducted on its customers identified that many had expressed interest in cryptocurrencies or were already trading crypto assets through exchanges.
Comyn further stated: “Customers have expressed concern regarding some of the crypto services in the market today, including the friction of using third party exchanges, the risk of fraud, and the lack of trust in some new providers. This is why we see this as an opportunity to bring a trusted and secure experience for our customers.”
The Commonwealth Bank stated that its move has been driven by rising customer demand and comes as local cryptocurrency services are being provided by fintech like PayPal Holdings, Square Inc, and British-based Revolut.
The Australian bank disclosed that it will conduct a pilot within the next few weeks before a wider launch in 2022. The bank mentioned that it would offer the ability to purchase, sell, and hold ten crypto assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
The bank stated that it would roll out more features in 2022 and explore options, including offering cryptocurrency payments for goods and services.
The CBA disclosed that it would partner with New York-based Gemini Trust company LLC exchange to provide cryptocurrency exchange and custody services through a new feature in its mobile banking app used by around 6.4 million customers.
The Commonwealth Bank also stated that it will also partner with a US-based Chainalysis blockchain analytics firm to help its compliance team monitor and mitigate threats of cybercrimes.
The bank is trying to get a first-mover advantage in Australia and, as a result, would bring more legitimacy to the crypto space.