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Cryptocurrrency: The next big thing Australia's banks need to keep an eye on

Mon 13 Dec 2021

Banks should keep a finger on the pulse of the growing demand for cryptocurrency services, according to a global study of 6,430 consumers by payments firm Visa.

The study, which included 790 Australians, analysed the growing adoption of crypto and found that 93% of financial decision-makers in the country are aware of crypto, yet only 27% have engaged with it as an investment or a payment mechanism.

Of that 27%, more than half (59%) say their use has increased in the past year. Of the 73% of crypto-aware Australians who do not currently own cryptocurrency, 26% have taken steps to learn more.

Of those who own cryptocurrency, 33% of respondents would be likely to switch their primary bank to one that offers crypto products.

While it’s primarily crypto-owners willing to move banks in search of crypto products,  82% of crypto owners are also interested in buying crypto from their bank.

According to Visa head of innovation and partnerships for Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, Anthony Jones, Australians’ views on the future of money are changing, so every financial institution will need to develop a crypto strategy.

“Digital currencies and crypto assets signify a technology shift not only for money movement but also digital ownership, with growth in this space poised to continue.”

According to the study, 36% of crypto owners say they are very likely to use crypto to pay friends or family in the next 12 months and 33% are very likely to buy crypto goods such as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

Crypto-owners are also motivated to build wealth (40%), to take part in the “financial way of the future” (34%) and not wanting to miss out on its potential rise (28%).

Among crypto-owners in Australia, 74% are also interested in crypto-linked cards, which allow you to spend crypto at the retailers where you shop in the same way you can use a debit or credit card. Further, 73% are interested in crypto rewards, which allow you to earn crypto as a reward for your card spending.

Visa is also taking crypto growth into account by launching a Global Crypto Advisory for its clients and partners.

“Over the past year, there has been a notable shift in mindset across the payments ecosystem, with businesses moving from a curiosity in crypto to actually building a strategy and product roadmap,” says Jones. “We are excited to help our clients and partners, globally and here in Australia, navigate this new era of money movement.”

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