One of the ANZ bank’s senior executives has told a Blockchain Australia forum that the crypto sector has grown too big to be ignored by traditional finance.
The comments came a day after rival Commonwealth Bank announced that it would roll out crypto trading services for 10 digital assets via its Commbank app.
The “State of Play” forum was held by Blockchain Australia on Thursday and featured representatives from organizations including Mastercard, ANZ and NAB offering their take on the crypto sector in the wake of CBA’s play.
Today we hosted the 'State of Play' with over 1200 registrations and speakers from some of Australia's most recognisable businesses.— Blockchain Australia (@BlockchainAUS) November 4, 2021
The conversation signalled very clearly that a revolution in payments is on our doorstep. pic.twitter.com/S32Vc4KToO
Nigel Dobson, ANZ’s banking services portfolio lead, stated that the growth of the crypto and blockchain tech over the past 12 to 18 months has put the sector firmly on the bank’s radar:
“There's this sort of weight of money that you just simply at some point can't ignore right? And you know, in the DeFi world that we've been watching for a while or even in just the currency space, it's just the weight of money and the quality of money that's moving into these venues that it makes us think, well, what is happening here?”
“When you look under the hood on that, we've concluded that this is a major protocol shift for financial market infrastructure,” he added.
Dobson is a senior banker with more than 30 years of experience at Barclays, Citibank and ANZ. He likened the technological advancements brought about by blockchain tech to the transformative effects the internet had on global commerce in the early 2000s.
“We're seeing the same kind of shift occurring here. We're shifting to more decentralized, arguably more trusted, more secure, faster, cheaper, better — yet to be proven —but if that's the thesis that these protocols can generate better outcomes and new business models, then they can't be ignored,” he said.
None of the other members of Australia’s big four banks has announced any immediate plans to follow CBA in enabling crypto trading. Dobson stated that it was unclear how CBA’s trial would go, but implied that the ANZ is likely to join the party at some stage.
“I think the move that the CBA made yesterday was bold and it is yet to be seen whether those customers will embrace that. But certainly all of what we've been talking about today, particularly in this section of the commentary, is that that the ship has sailed. And so what it is that we need to do is to navigate our path towards utilizing these networks,” he said.
The bullish comments mark a significant change from the bank, which recently settled a case with Canberra-based Bitcoin trader Aaron Flynn after he took legal action against ANZ over de-banking between 2018 and 2019 due to his work as a digital currency exchange (DCE).