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ANZ is the first bank in Australia to mint a digital currency

Australia’s ANZ Bank has become the country’s first major financial institution to produce and accept payment of a stablecoin tied to the country’s currency.

ANZ announced on Wednesday that it had successfully produced $30 million worth of its bank-backed A$DC stablecoin using an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compliant smart contract deployed through the Fireblocks platform.

The “in-house purpose-built” stablecoin smart contract was developed in collaboration with Fireblocks, Chainalysis, and OpenZeppelin. The coins were passed between the family office and the fund manager, according to ANZ, before being redeemed for cash.

This is the first time an Australian bank has attempted something like this in the country.

Victor Smorgon Group, the late billionaire’s eponymous family office, made the request, which was later deposited into the business’s Ethereum wallet, which was hosted atop custody infrastructure owned by digital asset fund manager Zerocap. Both the bank and Zerocap have clients in the family office.

The move saved the family office money on conversion fees between the Australian dollar-backed stablecoin and Circle’s USDC, a US dollar-backed stablecoin that Zerocap uses to make trades on their behalf.

Both parties were able to greatly reduce the risk of slower transaction speeds frequently associated with traditional finance thanks to blockchain’s speedy settlement times.

Following years of fence-sitting, banks are now eager to get some skin in the game following a fundamental shift in policy for digital assets in Australia. Commonwealth Bank, Australia’s largest financial institution, began allowing customers the ability to purchase and trade cryptocurrency through its native app towards the end of last year.

Sophie Gilder, managing director of Blockchain and Digital Assets at Commbank, said Monday that the new asset class was “now mainstream” and that the app’s user uptake had been “overwhelmingly positive.”

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