CBA becomes first Australian bank to offer crypto trading

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has today announced that it will become Australia’s first bank to offer customers the ability to buy, sell and hold crypto assets, directly through the CommBank app.

CBA has partnered with one of the world’s largest regulated crypto exchanges and custodians, Gemini, and leading blockchain analysis firm, Chainalysis. Both partnerships have allowed the bank to design a crypto exchange and custody service that will be offered to customers through a new feature in the app.

The pilot will start in the coming weeks and CBA intends to progressively rollout more features to more customers in 2022. CBA will provide customers with access to up to ten selected crypto assets including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.

Research from CBA has found a large number of its customers want to access crypto assets as an investment class and are already buying, selling and holding crypto assets through a variety of crypto exchanges.

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.

“In looking at ways that we can support our customers, we have made the strategic decision to form an exclusive partnership in Australia with Gemini, a global leader with strong security and a track-record of serving large institutions. CBA will leverage Gemini’s crypto exchange and custody service and integrate it into the CommBank app through APIs,” he said.

Dave Abner, Global Head of Business Development, Gemini, said: “We are proud to be providing exchange and custody services to CBA as they begin to unlock access to cryptocurrency investments for many Australians. The exponential growth of digital assets internationally, coupled with Gemini’s institutional-grade security and proactive regulatory approach, positions this partnership to set a new standard for banks and financial platforms in Australia and across the globe.”

As part of its approach CBA has also partnered with Chainalysis, a global leader in blockchain data and analytics to help compliance teams monitor and mitigate the threat of crime through crypto asset exchanges.

Michael Gronager, CEO and Co-Founder, Chainalysis, said: “Financial institutions like CBA play an integral role in growing cryptocurrency adoption safely. We are thrilled to be a part of this important alliance with CBA and our partner Gemini to play a pioneering role in building trust in cryptocurrencies in the Australian market.”

Mr Comyn said: “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,” he said.

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