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CBA to bring cryptocurrencies to its banking app

·Assistant News Editor
·2-min read
Bitcoin and Commbank logos
The world's biggest cryptocurrency is reportedly coming to the Commbank app. (Source: Getty)

The Commonwealth Bank is taking a major step towards embracing cryptocurrency by making Bitcoin and other digital tender available on its widely used banking app. 

It will mean the app's more than 6.5 million users will be able to buy, hold and sell certain cryptocurrencies on its regular mobile banking platform from next year, rather than CBA's CommSec trading platform. 

The move is ostensibly aimed at appealing to younger Australians and to enable CBA to better compete with rivals such as PayPal and Square, which already offer cryptocurrency integration.

It will make CBA one of only a handful of banks worldwide to commit to crypto in such a way, and the first major Australian bank to do so.

The ASX giant announced a partnership with crypto exchange Gemini that will facilitate trading, as well as Chainalysis, which provides compliance and intelligence services for transactions over blockchain - the 'digital ledger' technology that underpins Bitcoin. 

The pilot will start in the coming weeks and CBA said it intended to progressively roll out more features to customers in 2022. 

Customers will gain access to up to 10 selected crypto assets including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.

"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," CBA boss Matt Comyn said.

Caroline Bowler, CEO of BTC Markets, welcomed the news this morning. 

"CBA's move is exciting and inevitable," she said in a statement. 

"It is as though Australia has suddenly put the lead foot down. We have been touted as playing catch-up all this while, but now we're moving into a leadership position globally with our largest bank, and one of the most significant mainstream financial institutions in the world offering millions of customers access to cryptocurrencies.

"With regulation in the offing and the largest bank in the country allowing it, the floodgates are now open."

Bitcoin, the most well known of the cryptocurrencies, has had a typically volatile year, crashing in price in May and June to less than US$40,000 before rising sharply in August to new highs. A Bitcoin currently trades for roughly $85,000.

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