Philippines Union Bank Set to Offer Crypto Trading Services

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Done by Strength?

The Union Bank of the Philippines, which is one of the largest banks in the Philippines, is planning to begin offering crypto trading and custodian services, Bloomberg has reported. One of the bank’s executives has been quoted to have said that it is a means to ensure the future of their banking business.

Union Bank is one of the biggest merchant universal banks in the Philippines, with more than $15 billion in Assets Under Management (AUM). Union Bank also stands as one of the first banks in the country to accept and openly trade in cryptocurrencies.

The Head of Union Bank’s blockchain and application programming interface group, Cathy Casas, has said that the regular Filipino investor is presently holding up to 1% or 2% of their personal assets in cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin. She stated further that if the crypto market becomes stable, investors will hold up to 3% and 5% of their assets in cryptocurrencies in five years. 

The bank’s executive officer gave an estimate that about 5% of the Filipino population has gone into cryptocurrencies. She, however, clarified that many of the crypto investors are young people, some of whom earn tokens from play-to-earn digital games.

A security software and infrastructure provider for the digital asset ecosystem, Metaco, announced on Thursday that Union Bank is going to implement its digital asset management services. Metaco stated further that Union Bank is going to deploy its services on IBM Cloud.

Union Bank first announced its plans to pilot a crypto custodial service in August 2021, saying at that time that cryptocurrencies and other crypto assets are here to stay. Cathy Casas made it known that the bank’s custodian service for digital assets will also have tokenized bonds.

Warning Shots

However, the central bank of the Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), has warned against investing in crypto. The central bank warned that cryptocurrencies might pose a danger to the country’s financial system, mentioning their vulnerability to terrorist financing, money laundering, and other such illicit activities.  

To counter that, Cathy Casas said Union Bank is making serious efforts to educate its clients through all media, including social networks, and making sure they keep their transactions secure while they stay safe.

Union Bank is one of the few licensed cryptocurrency exchanges approved by the central bank of the Philippines. The bank launched its own stablecoin, the PHX, in 2019 to make available easier access to payments and remittances to rural banks in its network.


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