Commonwealth Bank of Australia halts crypto trading pilot plan

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has put its plans for a second crypto trading pilot program on hold indefinitely.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia halts crypto trading pilot plan
Commonwealth Bank of Australia halts crypto trading pilot plan

CBA handed Cointelegraph a transcript of a Tuesday bank briefing in which CEO Matt Comyn stated that regulatory clarity was still pending. He also stated that he was “working closely with a variety of regulators on the right treatment of this particular product, as you would expect:”

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

Comyn stated that a Treasury filing for the program is now being reviewed, but he did not provide an estimated completion date.

Even though the second pilot program had already been placed on hold by April when banking regulators objected to allowing regular bank users easy access to crypto, Comyn added that this week’s high volatility looked to confirm the necessity for the extended delay. Consumer protections were missing from the CBA’s services, according to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

“It is certainly a very volatile sector with an enormous lot of interest,” he remarked.

“But alongside that volatility and awareness and I guess the scale, certainly globally, you can see there is a lot of interest from regulators and people thinking about the best way to regulate that.”

Comyn also hinted that the bank was waiting for the outcome of the May 21 federal election. If a new regime takes power, the crypto regulatory landscape might undergo significant changes, according to Comyn, who added that “the incoming government will think about it.”

Dimitrios Salampasis, a leadership and entrepreneurship lecturer at Swinburne University, told The Guardian that CBA may be moving cautiously to avoid reputational damage.

Dr. Slampasis stated that “balancing risk, brand equity, and regulatory clarity will be crucial so as to minimize disruption in CBA’s current business model,” referring to the recent price slump across the crypto markets owing to the collapse of Terra.

Last November, the CBA became Australia’s first major bank to provide cryptocurrency services through its mobile app. The trial program offered access to the app’s 6.5 million users once it was completely implemented. Those plans are currently on hold indefinitely.