One of the largest banks in the Philippines, Unionbank, is said to be launching cryptocurrency trading and custody services. “It’s a way to protect our banking business in the future,” said a Unionbank executive.
Philippine Unionbank offers custody and cryptocurrency trading 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 global banks in the Philippines with assets under management (AUM) of more than $15 billion. The bank is one of the first financial institutions in the Philippines to adopt cryptocurrency.
Cathy Casas, head of the bank’s Blockchain and Application Programming Group, explained that the average Filipino investor currently owns about 1% to 2% of his or her personal assets in cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin. She added that if the markets were “stable,” investors would own between 3% and 5% in 5 years.
A Unionbank executive estimates that about 5% of the local population is immersed in cryptocurrency. She added that many cryptocurrency investors are young people, some of whom earn tokens from virtual games that are played to earn them.
It’s a way to protect our banking business in the future.
On Thursday, Metaco, a provider of security software and infrastructure for the digital asset ecosystem, announced that Unionbank is implementing its own digital asset management services. Metaco added that Unionbank publishes services on IBM Cloud.
The bank first announced that it was trialling a crypto custody service in August of last year, noting at the time that crypto assets are here to stay. Casas noted that the bank’s custodial service for digital assets will include token bonds.
The Central Bank of the Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), has warned against investing in cryptocurrencies. The central bank has warned that cryptocurrencies can “pose a risk to the financial system,” citing their vulnerability to illicit activities such as money laundering and terrorist financing.
We are making efforts to also educate our customers via social media, and ensure their safety.
Unionbank is one of the licensed cryptocurrency exchanges authorized by the Central Bank. The bank launched its own stablecoin, PHX, in 2019 to provide rural banks in its network with easier access to payments and transfers.
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