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Australia’s Largest Bank Halts Crypto Trading Pilot, Says More Regulation Needed


decrypt.co 19 May 2022 15:01, UTC
Reading time: ~2 m

Commonwealth Bank (CommBank), Australia’s largest bank, is putting a brake on the launch of its crypto trading service, with no firm timeframe to resume the project, The Guardian reported on Thursday.

First announced in November, the service would enable some 6.5 million CommBank app users to buy and sell up to ten cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.

After the initial pilot, launched in partnership with crypto exchange Gemini and blockchain forensic firm Chainalysis, the bank planned to progressively roll out more features this year.

However, as the market plunged into chaos during the TerraUSD collapse last week, CommBank is now pausing the project, with no time set on when it will resume.

“As events of the last week have reinforced, it is clearly a very volatile sector that remains an enormous amount of interest,” Matt Comyn, the CEO of Commonwealth Bank said in a tech briefing this week.

Still, as Comyn stressed, “alongside that volatility and awareness,” there’s also plenty of “interest from regulators and people thinking about the best way to regulate [cryptocurrencies].”

Commonwealth Bank: “Appropriate regulatory outcome”

Commonwealth Bank, which participated in Gemini’s $400 million funding round last November, also wants to play “a leading role” in providing input into the regulation of cryptocurrencies.

Comyn’s hope is that before it can advance to the pilot’s next stage, “the most appropriate regulatory outcome” can be found.

“Our intention still, at this stage, is to restart the pilot, but there is still a couple of things that we want to work through on a regulatory front to make sure that that is most appropriate,” added CommBank’s boss.

Australia to Bring Crypto 'Out of the Shadows' With New Regulatory Framework

Last December, the Australian government announced plans to bring the crypto industry “out of the shadows” with a “world-leading” regulatory framework.

Part of the initiative includes the introduction of a licensing regime for crypto exchanges, with the federal Treasury currently holding consultations on the matter. Responses can be submitted until May 27, 2022.


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