Financial institutions and banks in Australia have noticed that consumer interest in cryptocurrency continues to surge despite recent falls and crashes in Bitcoin and Ethereum prices. The executives of Visa, Commonwealth Bank, Macquarie, and JP Morgan, at the five-day Blockchain Week conference in Sydney, highlighted that the customers’ interest is driving them to provide more crypto-related services.
Sophie Gilder, CBA’s head of blockchain and digital assets, revealed that the four big banks were working on additional products on the retail and institutional investor side. The banks have recorded a huge response to its initial launch of in-app crypto trading. Gilder highlighted that they introduced CommBank crypto in December 2021, and they have received an extremely positive response.
She shared that they want to fulfill the full spectrum of customer needs in a measured and steady manner. And for this, the banks need regulation and an extremely solid business case. In the coming months, CBA wants to double the size of its crypto and blockchain team. The bank is also increasing investment significantly in this space.
But ever since CBA launched its crypto investment offerings, the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies – bitcoin and ethereum prices have declined significantly and remain volatile. The major cryptocurrencies, including the altcoins, have been struggling to maintain their value in the face of market shocks due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The asset class has fallen about 10% following February 24.
Anthony Jones, Visa Australia’s head of innovation and fintech, says cryptocurrencies are now well and truly mainstream. A recent study shows that 93% of Australians were aware of crypto. As such, Jones believes that the widespread mainstream adoption is very much here and here to stay.
Seamus Collins, chief investment officer at Mine Super, highlighted that super funds are also paying attention to the booming asset class. He said Mine Super, a $12 billion Australian super fund, has historically looked at crypto and its uncorrelated and diversified if it has a role as a hedging instrument or a store of value.
Collins pointed out that the current lack of regulatory certainty over the crypto space makes it difficult for super funds to invest in the asset class. He says doing so would be “very courageous”.