Global cryptocurrency platform Crypto.com is launching in Australia, initially rolling out its Visa card allowing consumers to quickly convert their tokens into fiat currency to spend in stores.
The move follows a string of crypto announcements from both local startups and big businesses, as the industry emerges into the mainstream and earns a stamp of legitimacy.
Founded in 2016, Crypto.com claims to be the world’s fastest-growing crypto app, with some 10 million customers worldwide.
It is intended to improve the practicalities of using cryptocurrencies in everyday life, thereby making the market more accessible to more people.
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It operates an exchange, wallet and NFT marketplace, and in March 2021 partnered with Visa to launch its card offering allowing customers to spend their crypto anywhere Visa is accepted..
Crypto.com’s move into the Aussie market hasn’t come completely out of the blue. The business has had an Australian Financial Services Licence since December last year.
In August it launched its Aussie-tailored Crypto.com Tax solution, designed to make it quick and easy for cryptocurrency holders to declare their interests at tax time.
The APAC launch also comes as the business ramps up for a new phase of global growth. In October it launched a TV ad campaign, starring Hollywood actor Matt Damon.
“The timing of this campaign coincides with the early stages of mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency,” Crypto.com co-founder and chief Kris Marszalek said at the time.
Cryptocurrency is going mainstream in Australia
In Australia, crypto hype certainly seems to be ramping up again.
Karl Mohan, a veteran of the local financial services industry, is set to head up Crypto.com’s local operations as general manager for the APAC region.
“Australians are eager to adopt cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, with over one in five currently holding crypto in their portfolio,” he said in a statement.
Last week, Commonwealth Bank announced a new feature allowing customers to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies via its app.
ASIC has also officially given the green light to crypto-ETFs in Australia, and BetaShares wasted no time in launching its Crypto Innovators ETF.
Share trading and superannuation startup Superhero is also eyeing a move into the crypto sector.
And a recent senate committee report tabled a string of recommendations to help make Australia a more welcoming jurisdiction for businesses in this space.
Speaking to SmartCompany, Gavin Appel, founder of startup advisory Ignition Lane, says we’re starting to see cryptocurrency truly enter the mainstream market.
Barriers to adoption are dropping fast, and seeing the likes of CBA backing crypto trading serves to legitimise the industry as a whole.
“That really turns the spotlight to cryptocurrencies, and what their involvement will be moving forward.”
That legitimacy also opens up more opportunities for the startups and small businesses operating in this sector, Appel notes.
While big businesses will drive mainstream adoption, startups will always be able to innovate more quickly, and arguably provide better platforms and better customer experiences.
CBA has boosted awareness and trust in cryptocurrencies. Startups will be there to reap the rewards.
“Fintechs drive further disruption to the incumbents, and that is just going to provide greater tailwinds to the industry.”