UnionBank, one of the largest universal banks in the Philippines, debuts cryptocurrency trading via a partnership with a Swiss crypto firm.
The Union Bank of the Philippines, or simply UnionBank, one of the largest universal banks in the Philippines, has launched a pilot program for Bitcoin.
deposit and trading services for select retail clients, the company said in a joint announcement on Nov. 2.
The new investment and trading feature was launched in partnership with Swiss crypto tech firm Metaco, with UnionBank live on Metaco’s digital asset platform Harmonize. UnionBank initially partnered with Metaco for the development of cryptocurrency trading services in January 2022.
Licensed and supervised by the central bank of the Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), UnionBank has been actively exploring the crypto industry in recent years. In 2019, UnionBank launched a payment-focused stablecoin pegged to the Philippine peso.
Henry Aguda, chief technology officer and chief transformation officer at UnionBank, said Metaco was central to the bank’s goal of providing “customer-centric” services in the Philippines. He also noted that UnionBank is among the earliest regulated adopters of crypto in the country, saying:
“We are proud to continue UnionBank’s series of industry firsts, this time being the first regulated bank in the country to enable digital currency exchange features for customers.”
The news comes shortly after Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos highlighted the importance of adopting blockchain technology to dominate digital banking and digital transactions.
Related: Basel Committee: Banks Around the World Hold €9.4 Billion in Crypto Assets
In an official presidential address published in September 2022, Marcos referred to several related UnionBank milestones, saying:
“UnionBank’s track record of creating opportunity through innovation and digital solutions in the banking industry is undisputed.”
Previously, BSP also warned the public against using non-local cryptocurrency trading platforms, stressing that dealing with foreign virtual asset service providers poses challenges in enforcing consumer protection. As of August, there were 19 registered VASPs in the Philippines.