CBA creates crypto capabilities for customers
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has today announced it will be creating a range of crypto capabilities for its 6.5 million-user banking app. Customers will be able to hold and use cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, making CBA the first Australian bank to offer access to cryptocurrencies.
With only a few banks around the world offering this service, CBA has taken the first big step towards crypto banking in Australia. The perceived volatility of digital currencies and misunderstandings of risk has kept many traditional financial institutions away from the space.
However, with an increasing number of consumers interested in digital currency and regulation coming following the final report of the Senate Report into Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre (ATFC) it seems an opportune moment for banks and other financial service providers to offer crypto-related services.
According to an article by the Australian Financial Review (AFR), CBA is expected to confirm a partnership with crypto trading platform Gemini to facilitate the trading of digital assets and Chainalysis will form part of the offer in order to deal with compliance and intelligence services for transaction tracking. Chainalysis works to prevent cybercrime, tracks trends and assists in the seizing of stolen funds, using the highly traceable nature of blockchain payment systems to help identify illicit use of digital currencies.
With Australian crypto personalities entering the AFR Young Rich List in force and a Bitcoin ETF on the horizon, digital assets are further entering the mainstream. The AFR notes that the CBA seem to be moving to operate more like a technology platform than a traditional bank.
For users this means they will soon have the ability to pay bills, check balances, manage property, invest in shares and buy digital currency from one app, which may entice younger customers to use the CBA. The ATFC has opened the door for more institutions to prepare crypto-related services with the piece of mind that a regulatory framework is coming.
Should the ATFC's recommendations be embraced, the potential for digital assets to flourish further increases considering the protection that banks like CBA will be able to offer users. This will be particularly important as the CBA is looking to allow its users to pay for goods and services using digital assets down the track, per the AFR.
In a year of significant checkpoints for the digital asset industry, such as MasterCard and Visa vying for crypto-linked credit cards, and the White House considering a crypto Executive Order, the news that the CBA is looking to integrate crypto into their user-friendly systems is some of the most exciting news yet in Australia.