Steven Deare
(Australian Associated Press)


Australia is becoming a leader in cryptocurrency, industry experts say, following the Commonwealth Bank’s decision to allow trading of the digital currency.

Many in financial services have on Wednesday praised the bank’s news that it will allow customers to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency assets through its CommBank app.

The bank will let customers trade up to 10 digital currencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, and will work with cryptocurrency providers Gemini and Chainalysis.

The boss of cryptocurrency exchange BTC Markets, Caroline Bowler, said it was a red letter day for the technology.

She said the bank was one of the most significant financial institutions in the world and would offer the currency to millions of customers.

This put Australia in a leadership position on cryptocurrency, Ms Bowler said.

She tipped other banks and superannuation fund managers to follow.

Payments giants such as PayPal and Afterpay-owner Square already allow customers to trade cryptocurrency.

Commonwealth Bank leaders are wary of these providers luring young people away from established banks.

The founder of comparison service Finder, Fred Schebesta, said more people would trade cryptocurrency as banks and regulators accepted it.

About 3.3 million Australians hold or trade the digital money, according to a Finder study.

Finder allowed users to trade through its app this year and Mr Schebesta said uptake had been incredible.

He had a warning for users, however.

“People need to make sure they compare the fees involved with trading crypto as these can vary dramatically between providers.”