Why CBA (ASX:CBA) is spruiking risks of ‘not participating’ in crypto

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) is gearing up to launch crypto trading services on its CommBank app. The decision to support crypto and blockchain technology comes as Australia’s largest bank recognises the risks of not participating.

At Friday’s market close, CBA shares finished the day down 1% to $94.81.

CommBank set to offer crypto-based services

Customers will soon be able to tap into the CommBank app and begin trading across 10 crypto assets. This includes popular coins such as Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC)Ether (CRYPTO: ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC).

The first bank to adopt crypto trading among the big four, CBA wants to become a leader in the digital asset sector. It believes the booming industry is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

In fact, CBA has partnered with the Gemini crypto exchange and blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis to launch its crypto services.

A pilot is scheduled to launch in the coming weeks for a number of limited customers. A full-service rollout is expected to occur sometime in 2022.

It’s clear that inaction by the bank could leave it falling behind as the market quickly adopts the decentralised currencies.

CBA CEO Matt Comyn commented:

We see risks in participating, but we see bigger risks in not participating. It’s important to say that we don’t have a view on the asset price itself, we see it as a very volatile and speculative asset, but we also don’t think that the sector and the technology is going away anytime soon.

However, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) remains cautious on crypto and its technology. The national corporate regulator noted that it is unable to oversee the sector and presents risks for investors. This is because the asset class does not come under the banner of “financial products” within Australia.

ASIC chair Joe Longo recommended that investors refrain from putting all their hard-earned savings in crypto. Instead, they should opt for a diversified approach across a number of different asset classes to safeguard them from volatile movements.

About the CBA share price

In 2021, the CBA share price added around 15% in value for investors. However, when looking at this time last year, its shares are up roughly 17%, highlighting modest returns for a blue-chip company.

On valuation grounds, CBA is the biggest company on the ASX with a market capitalisation of approximately $161.78 billion.