UnionBank Plans to Offer Crypto Trading

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By Shiela Bertillo

Philippines’ Crypto-friendly UnionBank revealed its plan to offer cryptocurrency trading and custodial services, and announced that it will be using the cryptocurrency safekeeping technology from IBM and Swiss custody specialist Metaco. UnionBank is possibly the first bank in the Philippines to adopt cryptocurrency.

“It’s a way to future-proof our banking business,” Cathy Casas, head of the UnionBank’s blockchain  and application programming interface group, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

UnionBank will deploy crypto management services on IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Crypto Services, which enables banks to control keys using highly secure hardware, while leveraging Metaco’s Harmonize service, a crypto orchestration system. 

IBM has been into enterprise blockchain: private ledgers running inside the firewalls of companies involved in supply chains. Metaco, on the other hand, is the leading provider of security-critical software and infrastructure to the digital asset ecosystem and has been providing the back-end crypto custody capabilities in Switzerland for banks including BBVA and GazpromBank since 2018.

“We are proud to further expand our significant presence in APAC, with Union Bank of the Philippines, a national leader in banking services. METACO continues to grow at a significant pace. With the recent launch of our APAC headquarters in Singapore, we can ensure that we continue to offer best-in-class services to UnionBank and other customers and partners in the region,” Patrick Enjalbal, VP Customer Success and MD, APAC at METACO, said in a statement.

Henry Aguda, UnionBank’s Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Technology & Operations Officer and Chief Transformation Officer, stated that the bank have “the passion for meaningful and sustainable reinvention.”

“We value our strategic partners, like METACO, and collaborate with them in an alliance that is meaningful in pursuit of a common vision. And for UnionBank, that common vision is customer centricity driven by emerging technologies and innovation,” he added.

Consequently, as early as August 2020 UnionBank aimed to pilot crypto custody service in the country and partnered with HexTrust, a Hong Kong-based digital asset custodian. The collaboration provided digital asset custody services as the bank entered the digital asset servicing sector. (Read more: UnionBank to Provide Crypto Custody)

Recently, following the growing crypto adoption of the bank, during BitPinas Webcast 07, Arvie de Vera, the CEO and Co-founder of UnionDigital Bank, exclusively revealed the upcoming launch of its second cryptocurrency stablecoin Philippine Peso UnionDigital (PHD). (Read more: UnionBank’s UnionDigital to Launch Crypto Stablecoin PHD)

Cryptocurrency investing in the Philippines, however, is still not encouraged by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). While the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reiterated that the public must do their own due diligence before engaging. (Read more: BSP, SEC Do Not Encourage the Public to Invest in Crypto)

This article is published on BitPinas: UnionBank Plans to Offer Crypto Trading

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