UnionBank of the Philippines has received a Certificate of Authority from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to operate as a virtual asset service provider, marking it as the first universal bank in the country to offer cryptocurrency trading on its mobile app. The announcement was made on Tuesday.
In addition to this, UnionBank will enable some users of its app to directly buy and sell starting in October. The bank plans to gradually roll out this new feature throughout the last quarter of 2023. This move provides UnionBank’s customers with a secure and convenient platform for trading cryptocurrencies through a well-established financial institution.
The bank has stated that this development will allow its customers to manage both traditional banking and digital assets within a single mobile platform. Prior to obtaining this license, virtual asset exchange services were only accessible to a select group of users through a limited virtual asset license.
“By obtaining this license, we are not only paving the way for even more groundbreaking opportunities, but also enhancing our digital capabilities and further transforming the way our customers interact with us,” said UnionBank President and CEO Edwin Bautista.
According to Cathy Casas, UnionBank SVP and Head of Emerging Technology Group, the pursuit of the virtual asset license was part of their strategy to future-proof their business.
This move is in line with UnionBank’s previous initiatives involving blockchain technology. In January 2018, the bank announced that it would offer the country’s first blockchain payment system for businesses, named “Visa (NYSE:) B2B Connect.” Later in the same year, UnionBank stated it would use blockchain technology to connect rural banks in a similar way systems like Bancnet and SWIFT link larger lenders.
In 2022, UnionBank raised P11 billion through the country’s first-ever offering of digital peso bonds powered by blockchain technology.
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