The Big Four Bank ANZ became the first Australian bank to issue an Australian dollar (AUD)-pegged stablecoin called “A$DC”.
But rival bank NAB also has its own stablecoin project, which is expected to be launched by the end of the year.
ANZ is working with local regulators such as AUSTRAC and APRA to ensure the project is signed as required and has already completed a test transaction on the Ethereum blockchain with its institutional partner Victor Smorgon Group, a family office affiliated with the Smorgon family of billionaires.
According to an Australian Financial Review (AFR) report on March 24, the stablecoin will initially be launched for institutional clients looking for a cost-effective option for investing in crypto, however, it will most likely be opened to the retail market. the same in the near future.
As part of the pilot deal, Viktor Smorgon sent $22 million (AU$30 million) A$DC to Zerocap, an Australian digital asset fund manager that partnered with ANZ to provide key infrastructure and advisory services.
Fireblocks, the global custodian of digital assets, provided the infrastructure and OpenZeplin audited the smart contracts. Chainalysis has signed a compliance assistance agreement.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Zerocap CEO Ryan McCall emphasized that ANZ’s move is not only a “huge step” in cryptocurrency adoption in Australia, but globally as it represents a legitimate example of a stablecoin backed by a fully regulated, interoperable and traditional financial institution:
“Before A$DC, we didn’t have a bank-backed Australian dollar stablecoin and much of the industry uses non-banked and often unregulated US dollar stablecoins. Now with this AUD stablecoin issued by a Big Four bank, the use case is much more compelling.”
Regarding the A$DC pilot trial, McCall noted that ANZ’s institutional arm is “enthusiastic and fully committed to this project, the ecosystem as a whole, and the provision of end-to-end solutions and services.” He refused to speculate on what might happen next from a big bank.
While the transaction was conducted in Ethereum, he said ANZ is likely taking its time to weigh its options, and Hedera-based Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is also being considered.
“Moving to ETH2 and beyond will be essential. However, this is not entirely accurate for Ethereum, as Hedera and others are in this mix, including in terms of ANZ,” he said.
McCall said it is “inevitable” that the Big Four banks will be looking to become major direct entry/exit cryptocurrencies in the near future.
Nigel Dobson, ANZ Banking Portfolio Leader, said the digital Australian dollar provided by the bank will boost the local digital asset economy.
“Our clients want to buy digital assets and seeing the digital Australian dollar being minted by a large ADI [уполномоченным учреждением по приему депозитов], such as ANZ, will give them confidence that they can transact with us and use the coin domestically. This means that they do not need to exchange coins for USD, taking on currency risk over a long process.”
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ANZ is not the only local bank working on a stablecoin launch lately, after NAB Head of Innovation and Partnerships Howard Silby emphasized during the Australian Blockchain Week event that “banks are having a massive blockchain moment.”
Silby said NAB is working on a stablecoin for transaction settlement on its carbon credits platform based on distributed ledger technology (DLT), which is scheduled to launch in late 2022.
“The stablecoin component to ensure that both parts of a transaction can be on the network is very important and is another exciting development that is being worked on,” he said, adding that:
“We made deals, but we had to partially settle in fiat. So the big breakthrough will come later this year when we have a stablecoin and we can really do all of this online.”