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Australian Watchdog Probes Commonwealth Bank’s Move into Crypto

Australia’s banking watchdog is taking a closer look into the decision by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), the country’s largest lender, to move into crypto trading, according to Reuters and other media outlets.

CBA, an Australian multinational bank with businesses across New Zealand, Asia, the U.S. and the U.K., is the first bank in the country to launch crypto asset trading services, according to a press release on Thursday (Nov. 4). The move has prompted the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to turn its attention to the $2 trillion cryptocurrency trading space.

See also: Australian Bank Debuts Service For SMB Financing

Since crypto is not officially regulated in Australia, the CBA said it is open to following a concise regulatory framework.

“We would really welcome regulatory clarity for crypto assets. We think it would improve the market, enhance trust and it would raise the bar in terms of customer protection,” Sophie Gilder, Commonwealth Bank’s head of Blockchain and the bank’s project leader, said.

An APRA spokesperson said that it is aware of CommBank’s plans and will be “examining regulatory issues that this raises.”

Read more: Examining Cryptocurrency, Blockchain Adoption

CBA teamed with cryptocurrency exchange and custodian Gemini and blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis to enable the bank to develop an app-based crypto exchange and custody service feature.

The pilot will start in the coming weeks with 2,000 people, and CBA plans to launch additional features to more customers next year. CBA will offer users access to up to 10 selected crypto assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.

“The emergence and growing demand for digital currencies from customers creates both challenges and opportunities for the financial services sector, which has seen a significant number of new players and business models innovating in this area,” said CBA CEO Matt Comyn.

“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,” he added.

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