Financial regulators stand in the way of expanded crypto services on the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) mobile app. For the first time in Australia, the bank aims to give all of its 6.5 million users access to cryptocurrency services.
CBA Crypto Products began a pilot of the services late last year, after which it hoped to open up to all users of its app, however it now appears to be moving towards a second pilot. The Australia Financial Review (AFR) reported on April 6 that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has tied up the launch with red tape.
ASIC opposes the launch on the basis of consumer protections regarding the target market and product disclosures. CBA has been working with ASIC and various other regulatory bodies within the Australian Government to launch the services.
Speaking at the Australian Financial Review Cryptocurrency Summit on April 6, ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armor explained her commission’s recent focus on crypto despite arguments that it is outside the purview of ASIC. She said that while crypto assets are not necessarily financial products that the commission can regulate, she was concerned:
“Consumers may be investing in an environment where they are not afforded the same level of protection that applies to financial products and services.”
Fighting against new ASIC guidelines that ban much of the work being done by financial influencers, Government Senator Andrew Bragg stated that the application of ASIC rules for financial products cannot be applied to crypto assets because cryptocurrency is not a financial product under Australian law.
In her speech, Armor commented on ASIC’s ability to truly regulate crypto assets “depends on whether they fit within the legal framework for financial products and services,” which she said is “a matter for Parliament.”
Armor added that he sees “real benefits of innovation within our regulatory regime” but cautioned that: “There are a lot of rules you have to follow.”
“There are a lot of rules there that you have to follow.”
The announcement of the CBA’s intention to launch crypto services created quite a stir last November as it was the first of the “big four” banks in the country to do so. Blockchain Australia CEO Steve Vallas told Cointelegraph that the move would be “extraordinarily important.”
Related: Australian Convenience Store Giant Will Accept Crypto at 170 Points of Sale
To bring the product to life, the CBA partnered with offshore crypto exchange Gemini and blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. Once fully launched, the product will include Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC).
This post Commonwealth Bank plans to expand crypto services to 6.5 million delayed by red tape
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