Westpac Banking Corp (NYSE:WBK) as reported early Tuesday morning from Reuters stated that its venture capital fund had invested an undisclosed sum in US based bitcoin start-up Coinbase in the first such deal by an Australian bank in the still developing digital currency.
Westpac is Australia’s second largest bank by market value and said the investment would allow its Reinventure Group fund to monitor and gain insights into the use of cryptocurrencies.
Launched now six years ago, bitcoin has seen an influx of investment from VCs and former executives from the banking sector have been keen to startup and join the nascent sector in hopes of seeing it succeed within the currency market place.
The digital currency has been gaining support from regulatory authorities, including the British government which earlier this year said it would regulate digital currencies in a bid to become a global bitcoin hub also the New York State Department of Financial Services has released its final proposed ‘BitLicense’ regulatory scheme earlier this month.
It should be noted that bitcoin has yet to gain such attention in Australia yet, back in April it was announced that Australia’s Central Bank would not regulate bitcoin. Citing the lack of a heavy hand and ambiguity towards the popular digital currency, newly launched Bitcoin Exchange based in Sydney Independent Reserve recently touted Australia’s favorable stance towards the digital currency.