Commonwealth Bank Says Crypto ‘Already Mainstream’

The bank has experienced a significant uptake of crypto activity on its app since it first allowed users to buy and sell digital assets last year


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key takeaways

  • CBA’s managing director of blockchain and digital assets said feedback over the ability to buy crypto via the Commbank app had been “overwhelmingly positive”
  • Ten cryptoassets are currently available for purchase on the bank’s app, including bitcoin and ether

Australia’s largest bank by total assets has experienced a significant uptake of crypto activity on its app since it first allowed users to buy and sell digital assets last year.

Speaking on the first day of Blockchain Australia’s five-day Blockchain Week conference in Sydney, Commbank’s Sophie Gilder, managing director of Blockchain and Digital Assets, said the response to the bank’s app had been “overwhelmingly positive.”

The reception of its app follows Commbank’s 2019 issuance of blockchain bonds via secondary market trading and marks a significant step in the country toward user adoption of the underlying technology.

Gilder, along with several other representatives from Macquarie, Visa and JPMorgan, said business decisions around crypto products were being driven largely by consumers in a “rapidly evolving” environment.

“About 900,000 of our customers have transferred money to crypto exchanges over the last two years,” Gilder said. “One in three Australians have a banking relationship with CBA. So we see this activity happening, our customers are already there, already in this space. You can say it’s already mainstream based on our stats.”

Gilder also said that while the feedback had been generally positive, the bank app’s biggest complaint came from customers who had not yet been let into the pilot.

CBA announced back in November it would be launching its crypto pilot program, granting select customers the ability to buy, sell and hold digital assets directly through the bank’s CommBank app. After launching in December, the bank became the first of its kind in Australia to offer crypto products directly to its customers.

To assist in the app’s design and custody service, crypto exchange Gemini and blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis were brought in. Ten cryptoassets are currently available for purchase, including bitcoin and ether.

Chainalysis’ suite of tools allows the bank to “analyze exactly what’s happening on the blockchain,” Gilder said. “Five years ago, you may not have had that level of confidence.”

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