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Commonwealth Bank Is Now Accepting Crypto

In a huge move for the Australian finance industry, Commonwealth Bank has today announced it will allow customers to trade and hold cryptocurrencies via its banking app.

This makes CBA the first Australian bank to allow cryptocurrency into its ecosystem, and one of the few major banks worldwide. The bank’s fee system, and any potential partnerships in this endeavour will be revealed later today.

It’s a savvy move from the bank. Finder’s Cryptocurrency Report 2021 found 17 per cent of Australian adults currently hold crypto, leaping from over 13 per cent this March.

Clearly, the alternative financial system is growing in our country, and this move is the biggest step to legitimising it.

“I think it’s a great move by the CBA to offer its customers access to cryptocurrencies,” Fred Schebesta, Founder of Finder said today.

“It’s a sign that banks are finally starting to adapt to the huge consumer demand for crypto, which is now sitting at a AU$3.67 trillion market cap.

“We know that there are approximately 3.3 million Australian adults who hold or trade crypto and more people will be joining the trend as banks and regulators around the world become more accepting of the new digital currencies.”

CBA Chairman Catherine Livingstone told the Financial Review in August that “the potential implications [of crypto] for the financial system are profound.”

“During the past year, there has been an increasing focus on bitcoin,” she explains.

“However, the bigger point is the emergence of new forms of private money – cryptocurrencies and stablecoin constructs that [unlike Central Bank-issued public money] are not regulated and are provided on digital platforms, enabling broad-based adoption. The potential implications for the financial system are profound.

“At the extreme this could undermine the concept of money itself, through the process of conflating public money with speculative cryptocurrencies of which there are now thousands. The counter to this will be the development of and decisions by Central Banks on the role of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) such as the project now being undertaken by the RBA.”

She also explained that the change would manifest in three ways: “through the fragmentation and potential loss of trust in the payments systems; a potential loss of regulatory visibility and efficacy, with big tech developing private money frameworks; and a loss of visibility of data flows in the national economy, inhibiting both monetary and fiscal policy initiatives.”

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