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Union Bank of Philippines to Offer Cryptocurrency Trading and Custody Services

One of the largest banks in the Philippines, Unionbank, is launching cryptocurrency trading and custody services. “It’s a way of preparing our banking business for the future,” said a Unionbank executive.

Philippine Unionbank to Offer Cryptocurrency 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 more than US$15 billion in assets under management (AUM). The bank is one of the first financial institutions in the Philippines to adopt cryptocurrencies.

Cathy Casas, head of the bank’s blockchain and application programming interface group, explained that the average Filipino investor currently holds about 1% to 2% of their personal assets in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. She added that if the markets are “stable”, investors would have between 3% and 5% in 5 years.

The Unionbank executive estimates that around 5% of the local population has become interested in cryptocurrencies. He added that many cryptocurrency investors are young, some of whom earn virtual gaming tokens from playing to win.

On Thursday, Metaco, a security software and infrastructure provider for the digital asset ecosystem, announced that Unionbank is rolling out its digital asset management services. Metaco added that Unionbank is implementing services on the IBM Cloud.

The bank first announced that it was testing a crypto custody service in August last year, noting at the time that crypto assets are here to stay. Casas noted that the bank’s digital asset custody service will include tokenized securities.

The central bank of the Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), has warned against investing in cryptocurrencies. The central bank warned that cryptocurrencies could “pose a danger to the financial system,” citing their vulnerability to illicit activities such as money laundering and terrorist financing.

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