While a few significant US crypto-friendly banks beginning with “S” have run aground over the past week, National Australia Bank (NAB) – one of Australia’s “big four” – is making progress with its 1:1 Aussie-dollar-backed stablecoin project.

In fact, NAB has released a statement today proclaiming a “world first” by completing an intra-bank, cross-border transaction using a stablecoin on a public “layer 1” blockchain.

The stablecoin is its very own – the fully backed AUDN, pegged 1:1 to the Australian dollar (AUD) – and the public blockchain that hosted the transaction is Ethereum.

“This pilot transaction on the public and permissionless Ethereum blockchain, involved deployment of stablecoin smart contracts for seven major global currencies,” reads the NAB statement.

The currencies referred to were the Australian, New Zealand, Singapore and United States dollars, as well as euros, Japanese yen and British pounds, according to a separate statement released by Fireblocks – an institutional-focused digital assets platform that’s partnered with NAB on the AUDN project.


‘Future of finance will be blockchain enabled’

It’s encouraging for the crypto and blockchain industry in Australia, and indeed globally, to see such a major financial institution move in this direction, especially at this time of intense regulatory scrutiny and crackdown on the digital assets space in the US right now.

Some of the strongest, or at least loudest, voices in American halls of power are not exactly fans of cryptocurrencies. In fact, the Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, for instance, appears to be hell-bent on wiping the nascent industry from the US entirely.

And, with the SEC’s Gary “Everything’s a Security Apart from Bitcoin” Gensler doing his best to make regulatory life extremely difficult for US crypto companies, uncertainty remains high as the US remains the biggest global influence on the industry.

NAB executive general manager for markets Drew Bradford, however, notes that the Aussie bank is committed to blockchain technology and tokenisation:

“We believe that elements of the future of finance will be blockchain enabled and we’re already witnessing rapid change in the tokenisation market. The stringent governance frameworks we have in place ensures we can support the creation of a safe and reliable digital financial system.”

The NAB announcement also stated that the AUDN pilot transaction “demonstrated the potential to cut cross-border transactions from days to minutes and brings NAB one step closer to enabling clients who operate in multiple jurisdiction and currencies a simpler and faster experience, starting with corporate and institutional clients.”

NAB is not the first “big four” Aussie bank to have issued a stablecoin. In March last year, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) announced its own Aussie-dollar-backed stablecoin project – A$DC.