Commonwealth Bank of Australia Now Offers Crypto Trading Services

Crypto trading in many countries is still in its infancy or awaiting regulatory approvals. In the financial sector, most banks had refused to do business with cryptocurrency providers in the past, with only a handful of banks in Europe and the United States offering crypto trading services.

In China, the government has ordered the trading of virtual foreign currencies to stop trading in commercial savings and transaction banking products. China has already started cracking down on privately mined cryptocurrencies, causing the market price of Bitcoin to drop. Institutions, including banks and online payment channels, have been urged not to offer customers any services that involve cryptocurrencies, such as registration, trading, clearing, and settlement.

As China shuts down crypto trading, the rest of Asia-Pacific takes a different view. In Southeast Asia, crypto trading, crypto payments, and even crypto exchanges are slowly becoming mainstream as banks and financial institutions begin to understand the potential that comes with it.

For example, in Singapore, a survey recently showed that the adoption of crypto payments is slowly increasing, with many eager to try the payment method. The Monetary Authority of Singapore has also given the green light for three companies to provide digital payment token services. One of them is DBS Vickers, a subsidiary of DBS Bank, which will provide digital payment token services as a major payment institution and directly assist asset managers and businesses in trading payment tokens. digital.

In Thailand, Nikkei Asia reported that Siam Commercial Bank has acquired a controlling 51% stake in local cryptocurrency exchange operator Bitkub Online, signaling a change in approach to fintech and crypto. Meanwhile, El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender several months ago.

Reports have also shown that Mastercard is preparing to announce that one of the thousands of banks and millions of merchants in its payment network will soon be able to integrate crypto into its products. This includes bitcoin wallets, credit and debit cards that earn crypto rewards and allow spending of digital assets, and loyalty programs where airline or hotel points can be converted into bitcoin.

Crypto Trading in Australia

(Photo by William WEST / AFP)

In the country, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) became the first bank in the country to offer customers the ability to buy, sell and hold crypto assets through the bank’s app. CBA has partnered with one of the world’s largest regulated cryptocurrency exchanges and custodians, Gemini, and leading blockchain analytics company, Chainalysis to enable this. The two partnerships have enabled the bank to design a cryptocurrency exchange and custody service that will be offered to customers via a new feature of the application.

The bank has announced that the pilot crypto trading service will start in the coming weeks and hopes to roll out more features for clients next year. CBA research has shown that a large number of clients want to be able to access crypto assets as an investment class and are already buying, selling and holding crypto assets through a variety of crypto exchanges.

CBA will provide customers with access to up to ten selected crypto assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin.

According to Matt Comyn, CEO of CBA, the emergence and growing demand for digital currencies from customers is creating both challenges and opportunities for the financial services industry, which has seen a significant number of new players and models. salespeople innovate in this area.

“We believe we can play an important role in crypto to meet what is clearly a growing customer need and provide the capacity, security and confidence in a crypto trading platform. CBA will take advantage of Gemini’s crypto exchange and custody service and integrate it into the CommBank application via APIs, ”he said.

For Dave Abner, Global Head of Business Development, Gemini, the exponential growth of digital assets globally, coupled with institutional-level security and Gemini’s proactive regulatory approach, positions the partnership to set a new standard for banks and financial platforms in Australia and across the globe.

Comyn added, “Customers have expressed concern about some of the crypto services on the market today, including the friction associated with using third-party exchanges, the risk of fraud, and the lack of trust in some new providers. . That’s why we see this as an opportunity to bring a reliable and secure experience to our customers. We remain committed to reinventing banking services and will continue to bring more functionality to the CommBank app, including investing and purchasing. “

A paradigm shift for Australian banks?

Interestingly, the CBA’s decision to offer crypto trading is not at all of the same opinion as the other big banks that represent the “big four” in the region. The National Australian Bank, Westpac Banking Corp and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, which are among the big four along with the CBA, were criticized in a parliamentary hearing in September for refusing to do business with crypto providers. cash.

Reports by Reuters state that CBA was studying the space at the time but had previously canceled some commercial accounts of clients who were doing business with cryptocurrencies.

CBA led the Australian industry’s entry into the fast-growing Buy Now Pay Later sector earlier this year in an effort to fend off competition from Afterpay Ltd. The bank also recently announced a cash incentive for merchant customers who offer their new Buy Now Pay Later product. , StepPay.

The bank also acquired a minority stake in a Silicon Valley-based AI company, H2O.ai Inc, with the goal of delivering smarter, more personalized products to its customers. CBA said it will team up to use H2O.ai’s cloud-based machine learning platform across its operations to develop AI-powered products, giving it a head start over rivals in designing smart financial products.

Dr Andrew McMullan, Chief Data & Analytics Officer of CBA, said: “H2O.ai will help us better forecast invoices and cash flow for retail and business clients so they can plan to advance. Customers want to be in control, and thanks to the combination of our award-winning, artificial intelligence-powered application, we can deliver products and services in an instant to manage unforeseen expenses or irregular income.

We not only help customers make better decisions about their finances, but also how they can reduce and offset their energy use and carbon emissions. We will use our AI models to orchestrate a range of services available in the ABC ecosystem for clients, including through our own products like Green Loan to help homeowners finance solar or battery power, or via recently announced partnerships such as Amber Energy and CoGo. . “

It will be interesting to see how the remaining Big Four banks react to the CBA crypto services move. It is not known if they will also look to offer similar services in the future, but one thing is for sure, crypto trading will only grow and have more influence in the future, especially with a more consumers wanting to have a piece of the pie too.





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