There's no denying the Commonwealth Bank loves its technology. It spent billions refreshing the way it does business so that it could support cool stuff like real-time transactions and contactless/phone-based NFC payments, but what has it given us lately? What's the next big thing for payments in Australia? Could this big bank be about to support Bitcoin?
What even is Bitcoin, anyway? For the uninitiated, Bitcoin is a currency generated by its users by solving complex tasks with their computers. It can either be spent online, exchanged via peer-to-peer or traded for real-world money.
That makes it sound a little silly, but that feeling wears off when you realise just how much this stuff is worth. An online Bitcoin-based trading floor recently suffered huge downtime after being busted into by hackers who made off with 24,000 coins worth over $US250,000 in the real world.
This online currency is really taking off, too. You can pay for a whole bunch of stuff with Bitcoin, including a subscription to Kim Dotcom's online storage locker, Mega.
So why aren't big banks supporting Bitcoin yet? Well according to a tweet from the Commonwealth Bank, we just might see it in the future.
@CurrencyTycoon Hi, thats a great idea! we'll be sure to pass this on to our development team. Stay tuned to twitter for future updates.
— CommBank (@CommBank) February 26, 2013
This might just be the Commonwealth Bank's social media team being nice and doing its job, but it's not absurd to think that a big bank could get involved in the Bitcoin game in future, is it?
Even conversations I have had with senior Commonwealth Bank executives demonstrate that the bank is certainly aware of Bitcoin at a decision-making level, so what's stopping it from being here tomorrow?
The barriers to the bank actually supporting the fledgling digital currency are most likely security, technology and potential profitability (or lack thereof). The bank won't do it if it can't both keep it safe and make money out of it, after all.
Either way, we have asked the Commonwealth Bank about their position on Bitcoin and will update you when we hear back.
Thanks Allan H for getting in touch!