Commonwealth Bank to sell Bitcoin and cryptocurrency direct to customers
In an Australian first, Commbank will support cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum via its widely-used mobile app.
Australian customers will be able to buy, hold and transfer up to ten cryptocurrencies through their Commonwealth bank accounts as of Wednesday, the 3rd of November.
The nations largest bank has partnered with cryptocurrency exchange Gemini to ensure a smooth transition into the cryptocurrency space, making it the first of the 'big four' banks to do so.
This is a landmark day for cryptocurrency in Australia, providing approximately 6.5 million CBA customers with accessibility to popular coins like Bitcoin, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash.
No other 'Big Four' bank in Australia has ventured into cryptocurrency, but it's possible they will now follow suit.
The decision to start supporting cryptocurrency is based on a number of factors. Blockchain-based technology has soared in popularity over the past 12 months on the back of NFTs, decentralised financial services and Bitcoin reaching its all-time high.
Competitors to CBA (such as PayPal and Square) have successfully implemented cryptocurrency services into their own applications.
Research revealed that many of CBA's clients, particularly younger ones, were already using third-party crypto exchanges.
Integrating cryptocurrency into the bank's infrastructure is a necessity for them to keep in touch with this 'growing demand for digital currency' and to provide a safer, trusted and simple method for customers to explore the world of crypto.
What does this mean for the future of cryptocurrency in Australia?
Though a number of regulated and widely-used cryptocurrency exchanges exist, there is still a public dissonance regarding the safety of such platforms among the crypto-naive. Certain CBA customers have expressed concern regarding these exchanges, whether it be through inaccessibility, risk of fraud or inconvenience.
Cryptocurrency services being offered through the most-used banking business in Australia is a significant move towards the public viewing cryptocurrency with greater legitimacy.
Caroline Bowler, CEO of BTC Markets is bullish about what this means for cryptocurrency going forward.
'CBA's move is exciting and inevitable. It's yet another 'red letter day' for crypto and it is as though Australia has suddenly put the lead foot down…
With regulation in the offing and the largest bank in the country allowing it, the floodgates are now open for more appetite from traditional finance and smart money to move into cryptocurrencies.'
Commonwealth Bank adding cryptocurrency functionality is a big step towards greater adoption. As time progresses, CBA will even look at using cryptocurrencies as a payment method for merchants, meaning customers could buy products with crypto directly from their bank account.
The news today shows that cryptocurrency is firmly in the mind of financial institutions, and its future as a viable currency continues to grow brighter.
Disclosure: The author owns a range of cryptocurrencies at the time of writing