RBA considers wholesale CBDC, while Rest Super careful on crypto plans
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Australia’s central bank is reportedly considering creating a blockchain-based currency for wholesale use, to settle transactions between banks instantly.
Reserve Bank of Australia assistant governor Michele Bullock told the Women in Payments event that the central bank digital currency would allow commercial banks to reduce transaction costs and risks, the Australian Financial Review reported.
Since last November the RBA has been working with National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Perpetual and ConsenSys Software on ‘Project Atom’, testing using a CBDC on an Ethereum-based platform for wholesale market participants.
“It is in the wholesale space this is, at the moment, of most importance,” Bullock said, according to the AFR.
“The concept of being able to have atomic settlement and program the way things will happen are important in those markets. I am not as convinced it is so important in the retail space.”
Australia’s New Payments Platform already allows instant payments between retail customers using the Osko system.
Meanwhile, a super fund for retail workers is backing away from its chief investment officer’s suggestions it might invest member funds in crypto.
Rest Super said it had no plans to do so in the immediate future and is “currently conducting extensive research into the asset class prior to making any decisions.
“We are also considering the security and regulatory aspects of investing in this class.”
Rest has over $56 billion in assets under management from 1.8 million workers, according to Superguide.
Across the Ditch, KiwiSaver provider NZFunds has taken a bolder approach, declaring that it believes “crypto assets belong in modern, diversified investment portfolios” as digital assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have a low correlation to shares and bonds.
The fund has partnered with Galaxy Digital to invest decentralised finance (DeFI) assets such ss Uniswap, Aave and Compound, although that fund isn’t currently available for retail investors.