Major Australian online broker SelfWealth is in discussions with bitcoin exchanges to add BTC trading capabilities to its platform of over 95,000 users, according to local news outlet The Australian Financial Review. According to a survey recently performed by the broker, over two-thirds of its customer base has interest in cryptocurrencies, half of which already invest in them.
“Australians have decided that cryptocurrency is here to stay and are looking for trusted platforms to facilitate their investment decisions,” SelfWealth Chief Executive Cath Whitaker said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, per the report. “We want to make investing for our customers as seamless as possible. Currently, moving between popular investment types usually requires access to multiple trading platforms and for investors to move money multiple times.”
Streamlining the investment process is surely a driver of adoption since it facilitates the user experience by cutting down intermediaries. Additionally, another motivation for SelfWealth’s decision to bring bitcoin trading capabilities to its platform relates to reaping the associated fees. The online broker has reportedly committed to a flat percentage fee on cryptocurrency trading and will share the revenue with the chosen exchange partner.
Whitaker also noted that once SelfWealth adds the ability for investors to buy and sell bitcoin, ether and other cryptocurrencies, while also trading local and U.S. shares in the same platform, would establish it an “Australian first.” The addition is reportedly taking place by the end of 2021 in an arrangement where the broker would integrate a third-party wallet into the platform to custody the investors’ bitcoin.
However, SelfWealth hasn’t elaborated on the details of the arrangement, including which bitcoin exchange it would partner with and whether users would be given a choice to custody the BTC with the third party or do it themselves.
As Bitcoin becomes further established into the mainstream investment cohort, the avenues of exposure provided are mainly treating BTC as just another financial asset, rather than the innovative peer-to-peer digital cash which it is. As a result, they often neglect essential features that reflect Bitcoin’s most fundamental principles, such as providing the option for BTC withdrawal. Unless users are empowered to withdraw their bitcoin to their own wallet, they’ll be limited to enjoying only the price appreciation aspect of the hardest money in the world.