The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), has placed its plans for a second pilot program of cryptocurrency trading services on hold and halted access to the ones in the first round of testing.
Cointelegraph received a transcript from a Tuesday bank briefing by CBA. CEO Matt Comyn stated that he is still waiting for regulatory clarity. He said that he was working with many regulators, as you would expect, to determine the proper treatment of this product.
“Our intention is still to restart the pilot at this stage. However, there are still some things we want to do on a regulatory front in order to ensure that it is most appropriate.”
Comyn stated that there is a Treasury submission on the program, but he didn’t share any timeline for its completion.
Comyn stated that wild volatility last week seemed to support the need to extend the delay. However, the second pilot program had been canceled by April because financial regulators refused to allow regular bank users easy access crypto. ASIC, the Australia Securities and Investment Commission objected to the CBA’s services claiming that there were no consumer protections.
He stated, “It’s clearly a volatile sector that still remains an immense amount of interest:”
“But along with that volatility and awareness, and I guess the scale globally, you can see that there is a lot interest from regulators, and people thinking about how to regulate it.”
Comyn suggested that the bank was still waiting for the outcome of the Federal election held on May 21. Comyn also suggested that a new regime could bring about significant changes to the crypto regulatory landscape. This will be an area Comyn stated “will be a focal point for the incoming Government to think about.”
Dimitrios Salampasis, a Swinburne University lecturer in leadership and entrepreneurship, told The Guardian that CBA could be moving slowly to avoid reputational damage.
Dr. Slampasis stated that “balancing brand equity, risk and regulatory clarity” will be crucial to avoid disruption to CBA’s current business model.
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Last November, the CBA became Australia’s first major bank to offer crypto services via its mobile app. The pilot program was a success and the CBA promised that the app would be available to all 6.5 million users when it was fully launched. These plans have been put on hold indefinitely.