Australia’s Commonwealth Bank starts trading Bitcoin
Australia’s Commonwealth Bank starts trading Bitcoin

Australia’s Commonwealth Bank starts trading Bitcoin

By Eleonora Spagnolo - 3 Nov 2021

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The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) in Australia will offer a service for buying, selling and storing Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. 

This was officially announced by the CBA itself.

Commonwealth Bank, Australia’s first pro-Bitcoin bank arrives

CBA, one of Australia’s top 4 banks, will be the first bank to offer cryptocurrency trading services directly from its app. CommBank (the name of the app), will be updated to include features that will allow users to buy, sell and hold crypto.

This has been made possible thanks to the partnership signed with the Gemini exchange and the Chainalysis company. 

Specifically, Gemini will provide the infrastructure, or rather will be integrated directly into the app. Chainalysis has provided support to help the compliance team monitor and mitigate cryptocurrency crime threats. 

Australia Bitcoin
Australia’s Commonwealth Bank starts trading Bitcoin

A breakthrough for banks

The bank’s top management chose this way to respond to the high demand for cryptocurrencies from its customers. It was a visionary move: by doing so they can prevent customers from going elsewhere.

Commonwealth Bank’s crypto service will be available in the coming weeks. At the moment it will only be possible to buy or sell 10 cryptocurrencies, including:

  • Bitcoin,
  • Ethereum,
  • Bitcoin Cash, 
  • Litecoin.

In the coming months, CBA plans to develop more cryptocurrency-themed services.

CBA CEO Matt Comyn said: 

“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. 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”.

Gemini and Chainalysis also expressed excitement about the partnership which will allow them to explore the banking sector. For both, this represents a challenge in getting the cryptocurrency industry to grow. 

For banks, this breakthrough was inevitable. On their side, they have the reputation of being secure, more so than the services used so far to buy and sell crypto. Scams are always lurking around the corner. In contrast, a bank stands for high-security standards. 

Commonwealth Bank was the first to understand this. CEO Matt Comyn further explains:

“Customers have expressed concern regarding some of the crypto services in 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. We remain committed to reimagining banking and will continue to bring more functionality into the CommBank app including investing and shopping”.

It remains to be seen what impact these services will have on CBA customers, and more importantly, whether other banks will follow suit. 

Banks and Bitcoin

The case of CBA is more unique than rare. Until now, large banks have limited themselves to offering their institutional clients cryptocurrency investment products, mostly funds, as is the case with JP Morgan. Commonwealth chooses to integrate with an exchange to offer Bitcoin directly to retail customers. 

It seems a bit of a contradiction: Bitcoin was born to fight banks and to eliminate intermediaries in financial activities, particularly after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the symbol of the subprime mortgage crisis. 

The integration carried out by Commonwealth Bank shows that banks have understood the threat and have decided not to fight it, but to live with it, peacefully.  

Eleonora Spagnolo

Journalist passionate about the web and the digital world. She graduated with honours in Multimedia Publishing at the University La Sapienza in Rome and completed a master's degree in Web and Social Media Marketing.

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