Australia’s largest bank to offer bitcoin services

CommBank, Australia’s largest bank, announced yesterday that it would start offering bitcoin services. Customers will soon be able to easily buy, sell and hold bitcoin via the CommBank app.

Commbank is the first bank in Australia to offer such bitcoin services. The pilot for the first customers will start in the coming weeks. If everything goes according to plan, all 6.5 million customers will be able to easily buy bitcoin via the bank’s platform by early 2022.

Banks and bitcoin

CommBank is Australia’s largest provider of financial services, serving a customer base of corporate, private and institutional clients. Its 6.5 million customers represent 25% of the population in Australia. The step for such a large bank to offer bitcoin is a big one.

?ǣGrowing customer demand for bitcoin presents both opportunities and challenges for the financial services industry, which has seen tremendous growth thanks to this new technology ,?ǥ said Commbank CEO Matt Comyn.

?ǣWe believe that we can play a major role in the bitcoin industry. It is clear that the demand for bitcoin from customers is growing rapidly. We are going to offer security and trust in the form of a trading platform’ , explains Comyn.

More and more banks are tacking and deciding to offer bitcoin. For example, the largest bank in the US, JP Morgan Chase, will make it possible for clients to invest in a bitcoin fund. Furthermore, VastBank, BNY Mellon, Morgan Stanley and US Bank are all working on bitcoin management services or investment opportunities.

Collaboration

The bank has entered into a partnership with the exchange Gemini for the provision of custodial services . It is not possible for customers to send the bitcoin purchased via the Commbank app to their own wallet. The bitcoin is managed by the bank, for one an easy solution for the other an absolute no-go.

Read here about the differences between custodial, non-custodial, self-custodial wallets and their advantages and disadvantages.

Commbank also entered into a partnership with blockchain analysis company Chainalysis, which will help the bank monitor for suspicious transactions. Transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain are publicly available and when it is known that a Bitcoin address is involved in criminal activities, it is possible to monitor that address and track all transactions. In this way, Chainalysis, for example, monitors bitcoin addresses that are involved in ransomware or hacks on exchanges, so that the funds cannot be sold at trading platforms.

Payment giant Mastercard is also working on bitcoin, read more about it here.

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