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News 3 Nov 2021 - 2 min read

Commbank pushes into crypto with Bitcoin, Ethereum trading and wallet in app, beefs up shopper data play with Karta deal

By Brendan Coyne - Editor

Commbank is pushing into crypto trading by inking a deal with an exchange that will allow customers to trade and store cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum from inside the Commbank app. Meanwhile, it has made another significant push into retail by taking a 20 per cent stake in gifting platform Karta.

What you need to know:

  • Commbank strikes deal with crypto exchange to enable trading and storage of currencies from within app.
  • Also takes stake in retailer gifting platform Karta, hints more deals to come.

 

Bullish moves

Commbank is set to launch crypto trading and a secure wallet service inside its app, striking a deal with trading exchange Gemini and blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis.

It will mean customers can trade and store crypto currencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin within the app.

The bank is starting a pilot with a view to full rollout in 2022.

The move comes amid a bull crypto market, with Bitcoin and Ethereum nudging all time highs, and many alt coins surging in response.

Commbank CEO Matt Comyn said a large number of CBA’s customers are trading in cryptocurrencies, so it made sense for the bank to give them access to secure trading and storage.

“In looking at ways that we can support our customers, we have made the strategic decision to form an exclusive partnership in Australia with Gemini, a global leader with strong security and a track-record of serving large institutions. CBA will leverage Gemini’s crypto exchange and custody service and integrate it into the CommBank app through APIs,” he said.

The move makes sense. Crypto currency holders can face challenges around security and trust with some exchanges less reputable and harder to deal with than others. While tier one exchanges are generally seen as safe, others are less stable. Meanwhile, secure storage can pose significant issues – given the values held in digital wallets.

CBA said the partnership with blockchain data and analytics firm Chainalysis would help compliance teams monitor and mitigate the threat of crime through crypto asset exchanges.

Retail push deepens

Meanwhile, Commbank has pushed deeper into retail. Earlier this year the bank invested $30m in e-comm retail platform Little Birdie and last week took a 20 per cent stake in gift card platform Karta.

The business means customers can buy a gift card from participating businesses and gift to anyone electronically.

Kate Crous, CBA’s Executive General Manager, Everyday Banking, hinted more retail deals were in the offing as the bank continues to diversify and build out a massive aggregated loyalty play and data-rich walled garden in a bid to compete with global tech players.

“By bringing together our CommBank app, rich customer data and extensive business relationships, we can create more personalised shopping experiences for consumers and businesses,” said Crous. “And we expect to continue to evolve our shopping offering.”

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