UnionBank to Provide Crypto Custody

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By Shiela Bertillo

Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) announced a partnership with Hex Trust, a Hong Kong-based digital asset custodian, which will provide digital asset custody services as the bank enters the digital asset servicing sector. UnionBank aims to pilot crypto custody service in the country.

In response to the growing interest in digital assets and blockchain technology, and the need for trust and regulated institutions to manage digital assets from retail and institutional investors, this partnership will start by Hex Trust providing digital asset custody as an internal service for UnionBank employees, as a pilot run. This is in preparation for a fully commercialized digital asset custody service for the bank’s customers as its next stage, according to the press release. 

Hex Trust is a fully licensed and insured financial institution that provides bank-grade custody for digital assets. Led by veteran banking technologists and award-winning financial services experts, Hex Trust has built a proprietary bank-grade platform — Hex Safe — that delivers a custody solution for banks, financial institutions, asset managers, exchanges, and corporations. (Read More: UnionBank to Launch Digital Bank in 2022)

Henry Aguda, UnionBank’s Chief Technology and Operations Officer indicated that the market demand in the various forms of digital assets, including cryptocurrency, NFTs, or tokenized assets are arising. “We are excited to be the first Philippine bank to pilot a custody service for digital assets for our own employees, overseen by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), so that we can prepare the groundwork for a safe and protected system for customers’ digital assets,” Aguda said in a statement.

Play-to-earn games, such as Axie Infinity, have exploded in popularity in the Philippines, with users being able to earn crypto and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) through playing the game.

“The demand for digital assets in Southeast Asia is very strong and continues to grow. There are many reasons for this, including the demographics of the younger population who are digitally savvy, a mobile-first generation, and attached to online tools,” Alessio Quaglini, CEO of Hex Trust, told Forkast.News in an email. “Many families are even replacing their household income and getting out of poverty through playing the blockchain-based game every day.” (Read More: This Docu Perfectly Captures the Play-to-Earn Phenomenon in the Philippines)

In addition to the upcoming launch of its digital bank, Union Digital Bank, by the second quarter of 2022, UnionBank believes this partnership will enable it to respond to the needs of customers who are now looking for a trusted and regulated institution to safekeep their digital assets. 70 percent of the adult population of the country remains unbanked, rendering them unserved by financial institutions according to a data  from BSP. This initiative could allow the digital assets industry to continue its growth, and at the same time, together with the BSP, remain safe and regulated for new and existing investors.

This article is published on BitPinas: UnionBank to Provide Crypto Custody

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