Large Banks Are Beginning to Launch Crypto Trading Services in Response to Digital Asset Boom

After spending years on the sidelines, large banks are beginning to dive into the world of digital assets.

Commonwealth Bank (CBA), the biggest bank in Australia, says it will be the first in the nation to allow customers to buy, sell and hold crypto assets.

A pilot program offering crypto directly to customers through the bank’s primary app is about to roll out. It’s part of a new partnership with crypto exchange Gemini and blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis.

Meanwhile, a group of savings banks in Germany is reportedly testing a trading network that would allow 50 million customers to buy and sell Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and other crypto assets.

In addition, the Swiss subsidiary of BBVA now offers digital accounts to its customers to let them trade BTC and ETH.

In the US, financial giants Bank of New York Mellon and Fidelity are offering crypto services to large institutional clients.

Mainstream banks in the US remain the slowest to bring crypto assets to retail customers – but that may also begin to change this year.

A top US regulator, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), is exploring how banks can hold crypto assets, according to a recent report from Reuters.

FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams, says a group of regulators is working to develop a set of guidelines that would allow American banks to support crypto assets.

“I think that we need to allow banks in this space, while appropriately managing and mitigating risk,” she said in an interview on the sidelines of a fintech conference.

If we don’t bring this activity inside the banks, it is going to develop outside of the banks… The federal regulators won’t be able to regulate it.”

According to McWilliams, the FDIC is working alongside the Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to develop a clear and coordinated set of rules that will allow US banks to enter the realm of digital assets.