Senators Andrew Bragg and Jane Hume have welcomed the decision by Commonwealth Bank (CBA) to become the first big four bank to offer access to cryptocurrency.
CBA had partnered with crypto exchange Gemini and blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis to offer access to up to 10 crypto assets including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.
The bank said it had found a “large number of customers” wanted access to the investment class.
CBA chief executive, Matt Comyn, said: “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 space.
Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre, Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg, said: “For too long banks have cast aside cryptocurrency as an illegitimate fringe pursuit. I am pleased the tide is turning as digital assets are mainstreamed”.
The committee had raised concerns over debanking due to association of cryptocurrency assets and had made four recommendations in the committee’s final report and expected those measures to be implemented within the next 12 months.
These included the establishment of a market licensing regime for digital currency exchanges, a policy review of the viability of a retail central bank digital currency in Australia and the use of renewable energy for ‘mining’ of digital assets.
“If adopted in full, the Senate’s crypto reform agenda would bring Australia’s regulations in line with the best in the world, like the UK and Singapore,” he said.
The minister for financial services, superannuation and the digital economy, Senator Jane Hume, said she was “thrilled” digital assets were becoming more accessible to Australians.
“Investment in any asset class is a serious decision and carries risk and taxation liability – so do be aware the rules still apply even to crypto,” Hume said.
There had also been a recent report by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) which gave its approval to the launch of crypto products including exchange traded funds and indicated products could be launched in the future.