One of the largest banks in the Philippines, Unionbank, is reportedly launching cryptocurrency trading and custody services. “It’s a way to future-proof our banking business,” said a Unionbank executive.
Unionbank of the Philippines to Offer Crypto Trading and Custody Services
Union Bank of the Philippines (UBP), also known as Unionbank, plans to offer cryptocurrency trading and custody services, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
Unionbank is one of the largest universal banks in the Philippines with over $15 billion in assets under management (AUM). The bank is one of the first financial institutions in the Philippines to embrace cryptocurrency.
Cathy Casas, head of the bank’s blockchain and application programming interface group, explained that the average Filipino investor currently holds around 1% to 2% of their personal assets in cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin. She added that if the markets are “stable”, investors would hold between 3% and 5% in 5 years.
The Unionbank executive estimates that around 5% of the local population have dabbled in cryptocurrency. She added that many crypto investors are young people, some of whom earn tokens through play-to-earn virtual games.
It is a way of sustaining our banking activities.
On Thursday, Metaco, a provider of security software and infrastructure for the digital asset ecosystem, announced that Unionbank is implementing its digital asset management services. Metaco added that Unionbank deploys services on IBM Cloud.
The bank first announced that it was piloting a crypto custody service in August last year, noting at the time that crypto assets were here to stay. Casas noted that the bank’s custodial service for digital assets will include tokenized bonds.
The central bank of the Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), has warned against investing in crypto. The central bank warned that cryptocurrencies could “pose a danger to the financial system”, citing their vulnerability to illicit activities like money laundering and terrorist financing.
We strive to educate our customers also through social media, keeping them safe.
Unionbank is one of the central bank approved licensed cryptocurrency exchanges. The bank launched its own stablecoin, PHX, in 2019 to provide rural banks in its network with easier access to payments and remittances.
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