Major banks report that as interest in digital assets grows, clients desire more crypto-related services
Despite recent market volatility and a lack of regulatory certainty, some of Australia’s largest banks, super funds, and financial institutions indicate continued significant client interest in the new bitcoin asset class.
On the first day of Blockchain Australia’s five-day Blockchain Week conference in Sydney, representatives from Visa, Macquarie, the Commonwealth Bank, and JP Morgan all said that their customers were pushing them to expand their cryptocurrency-related services.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Sophie Gilder, CEO of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), told attendees at a conference that the bank was developing new products for retail and institutional investors.
Sophie Gilder also noted that the bank experienced an enormous reaction to its first launch of in-app cryptocurrency trading, despite the fact that it was not regulated by Australia’s regulatory body.
“It is the complete spectrum of customer demands that we want to address in a controlled and steady way, partly due to regulatory requirements and partly due to the necessity for an exceptionally compelling business case,” she said.
The Commonwealth Bank will more than double the size of its cryptocurrency staff
Ms. Gilder said that the Commonwealth Bank intended to more than quadruple the size of its crypto and blockchain team in the coming months, as well as significantly increase its investment in the industry.
Nonetheless, since CBA started offering cryptocurrency investing services last year, the value of major cryptocurrencies like as Bitcoin and Ethereum has decreased, with Bitcoin and Ethereum prices falling by almost 30%.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Bitcoin and other prominent cryptocurrencies initially struggled to maintain their value, with the asset class losing more than 10% of its value. However, the flagship digital currency has now recovered to levels over $40,000 and is presently stabilising at this level.
Anthony Jones, Visa Australia’s director of innovation and fintech, also stressed the rising popularity of cryptocurrencies, noting that they are now “well and truly mainstream,” citing a recent research performed by the payments firm that indicated 93 percent of Australians were aware of them. “We feel that broad mainstream acceptance is very much here to stay,” he added.
Indeed, a September 2021 research found that one of six Australians owned cryptocurrency, while 56 percent believed Elon Musk founded Bitcoin. Meanwhile, global payments giant Visa (NYSE: V) introduced a real debit card to allow crypto payments in Australia.
Australia is preparing to regulate cryptocurrencies
On March 20, Finbold announced that Australia is about to take a significant step toward cryptocurrency regulation.
The Australian government has revealed plans for a major overhaul of the country’s payment system, which would include provisions for digital currencies, putting the country’s cryptocurrency sector in line with a rising number of other countries adopting similar steps.
The country’s Minister for Financial Services, Jane Hume, said that the government’s objective is to ensure that all cryptocurrency players operate within a regulated environment in light of the growing acceptance of different digital assets.
“The government cannot and should not guarantee your crypto, any more than it can or should guarantee a painting or a part in a corporation. However, we can ensure that Australian exchanges, custodians, and brokers operate under a more robust, safer, and secure regulatory environment,” she added.
The new legislation would place a premium on taxing cryptocurrencies, protecting investors, and regulating digital banks and crypto exchanges.