Another major bank in the Asia-Pacific area has taken the crypto plunge, with Australia’s Commonwealth Bank (CBA) stating that it will become the first mainstream financial provider in the nation to allow its customers to buy, sell and hold cryptoassets such as bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH) on its platform.
In an official notice, CBA wrote that its customers would be allowed to make crypto transactions “directly through” its CommBank smartphone app.
The bank stated that it had struck deals with the crypto exchange giant Gemini as well as the blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis and that its 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.”
Gemini will provide custody and exchange services via APIs, while Chainalysis will “help [CBA’s] compliance teams monitor and mitigate the threat of crime through cryptoasset exchanges.”
Customers will initially be able to access the services in a pilot that will start “in the coming weeks,” and CBA will then “progressively roll out more features to more customers in 2022.”
Founded in 1911 as a state-run bank, the CBA has become one of Australia’s largest commercial banks after becoming a private sector entity in 1991. It employs over 43,000 staff and has some 1,100 branches in Australia, as well as overseas branches in other Commonwealth nations such as the UK and New Zealand.
The bank claimed that it had conducted “research” that revealed “a large number of its customers want to access cryptoassets as an investment class and are already buying, selling and holding cryptoassets through a variety of crypto exchanges.”
Its CEO Matt Comyn was quoted as stating,
“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.”
A number of leading South Korean banks have begun offering crypto custody services via affiliates, while India’s United Multistate Credit Co-op Society and Singapore’s DBS have also made significant crypto moves in recent months. Meanwhile, yesterday, The Siam Commercial Bank Public Company Limited said that the board of directors of SCB Securities Co. approved the acquisition of a 51% stake in Bitkub Online Co., a Thailand-focused crypto exchange, for THB 17.85bn (USD 537m).