The Commonwealth Bank is set to become the first major Australia bank to allow customers to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency assets via its CommBank app.
The bank said it would commence a pilot in the coming weeks with further features to be released across 2022.
CBA will initially offer customers up to ten cryptocurrency assets including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.
The bank will use the Gemini platform for cryptocurrency exchange and custody, and the services of Chainalysis to aid compliance and monitoring.
The offering will enable CBA to participate in growing market interest in digital assets.
CBA said its own research showed that customers already own or use cryptocurrencies through other trading platforms.
CEO Matt Comyn said that consumer interest in the cryptocurrency space “creates both challenges and opportunities” for Australia’s finance market, “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 cryptocurrency to address what’s clearly a growing customer need and provide capability, security and confidence in a cryptocurrency trading platform,” Comyn said.
The news comes after Comyn told a parliamentary committee in September that the bank was “studying” the cryptocurrency space.
During the hearing, Comyn said CBA understood digital assets are a “higher risk sector” but saw potential “in some instances that we feel that we can appropriately manage the risk, leveraging some of the tools, techniques and providers that are available”.
NAB, Westpac and ANZ have all expressed similar concerns but are yet to jump into the cryptocurrency market.