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Commonwealth Bank of Australia Suspends Its Crypto Trial Admid Volatility Concerns

It is great to see banks and other financial institutions provide easier access to cryptocurrency for customers. But, unfortunately, that is often easier said than done. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is pausing this pilot project due to growing market volatility.

CBA Pauses Its Crypto Pilot

One can argue now may not be the best time for banks to let customers access cryptocurrencies. The markets have been incredibly volatile over the past nine months. Moreover, recent debacles, such as the UST stablecoin imploding, will not help instill more market confidence either. When accessing crypto through a financial institution, that company bears responsibility for what happens to its customers unless stated otherwise. 

Commonwealth Bank of Australia was one of the first movers in bringing cryptocurrency access to its customers. Sadly, the time has come to rethink this strategy for now. As these markets remain too volatile to handle, it is best to prevent users from exposing themselves to unnecessary risks. The pilot program, providing access to Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and seven other crypto assets, has been suspended. There is no word on if and when it will resume.

CBA CEO Matt Comyn explains:

“As events of the last week have reinforced, it is clearly a very volatile sector that remains an enormous amount of interest. 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. 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.”

It will always be a tough balancing act for banks who want to enter the cryptocurrency space. Dealing with such volatile markets and a lack of regulation is very tricky. However, the Australian Federal Treasury is consulting on regulation for the industry. Submissions are open until late May, with action expected later this year or in early 2023.