Own Westpac shares? Why the major bank could soon make a crypto splash

A man in his 30s holds his computer underneath and operates it with his other hand as he has a look of pleasant surprise on his face as though he is learning something new or finding hidden value in something on the screen.A man in his 30s holds his computer underneath and operates it with his other hand as he has a look of pleasant surprise on his face as though he is learning something new or finding hidden value in something on the screen.

Shares in Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) experienced a green end to the week. However, it isn’t the share price that may have caught the attention of investors in the big four bank this week.

While Westpac might be Australia’s oldest banking institution, it has proven that age is merely a number. Potentially catching a few onlookers off guard this week, the 205-year-old bank has been caught advertising a job involving cryptocurrency.

Let’s take a look at what it might mean for Westpac shares.

Looking to be a leader in crypto

In the last seven days, many crypto assets have partially rebounded in value. Take for instance the two largest names in the market, Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) and Ethereum (CRYPTO: ETH). These two crypto assets have increased 12% and 32% in value respectively.

Amid this current resurgence, reporting has spread on Westpac putting out the feelers for a ‘Principal Architect in Digital Assets and Cryptocurrency’. However, according to the LinkedIn job posting, this role was first published three weeks ago.

Interestingly, the expression of interest in the crypto sector comes amid some of the greatest scepticism since the dramatic fall in price back in 2018. The developing industry has come under pressure following several collapses of both crypto tokens and institutions — such as the recently publicised Three Arrows Capital debacle.

The evaporation of capital as a result of this undoing has accelerated falls across crypto assets since the beginning of the year. In turn, Bitcoin is now down 49% on a year-to-date basis. In contrast, Westpac shares have slipped a slight 3%.

According to the Westpac job listing, the major bank’s new role includes:

  • Helping drive Westpac’s emerging digital assets business, with the goal of entering the market and achieving a leadership position
  • Translating emerging trends from the cryptocurrency and digital assets world into the opportunities for Westpac and our customers
  • Developing and maintaining the strategic technology roadmap for digital assets, cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies

Based on the information above, it seems Westpac is quite serious about getting involved in crypto.

Westpac shares in review

While 20% price swings in the space of a couple of weeks are customary in the crypto world, few would expect to see such a move among the big four. However, that is exactly what occurred in the front half of June as the Westpac share price reacted to rate hikes.

At the current $21.07 price tag, Westpac is offering a dividend yield of 5.7%.

The post Own Westpac shares? Why the major bank could soon make a crypto splash appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

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More reading

Motley Fool contributor Mitchell Lawler has positions in Bitcoin and Ethereum. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. and The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Bitcoin and Ethereum. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Westpac Banking Corporation. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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