Crypto-Licensed UnionBank Pilots Bitcoin Trading Leveraging Metaco

UnionBank and Metaco jointly announced that the bank will begin piloting its crypto trading services to select retail clients

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Editing by Nathaniel Cajuday

Universal Bank and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) crypto-licensed UnionBank of the Philippines has launched its crypto trading and custody services to select retail clients via its mobile application, the company announced in a joint statement with METACO, a market provider for financial institutions to offer digital assets.

Statement of UnionBank and METACO

The two financial firms’ executives released their statements regarding this milestone: 

“UnionBank’s collaboration with its strategic partner METACO has been critical in the bank’s pursuit of realizing its vision of delivering superior, customer-centric services to the Philippine market. We are proud to continue UnionBank’s series of industry firsts, this time being the first regulated bank in the country allowing digital currency exchange feature for clients.”

Henry Aguda
Chief Technology and Operations Officer and Chief Transformation Officer at UnionBank

“Our bank-grade digital asset orchestration platform, Harmonize, provides UnionBank with the optionality to securely explore a range of retail and institutional digital asset use cases, from crypto custody, investment and trading, to the fast-growing Metaverse economy in the Philippines.” 

Seamus Donoghue
Chief Growth Officer at METACO

What crypto will UnionBank offer to its clients?

According to UnionBank, it will begin a pilot program wherein it will allow users to buy, sell, and trade Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH):

  • This is only available to select clients for now so it’s possible that a UnionBank client’s mobile account will not show this yet.
  • The bank will also offer crypto asset custody – the account holder’s crypto will be secured by UnionBank, acting as the custodian of the user’s crypto assets.

Is it available on UnionBank mobile app and desktop?

The information shows it is only available on UnionBank mobile app. 

BitPinas was able to obtain screenshots from a user that shows crypto on their UnionBank dashboard but was not given permission to publish the said screenshots.

Who is UnionBank’s partner to launch its crypto services?

METACO clarified that they are the go-to provider for Tier 1 banks that want to foray into the digital asset (crypto) ecosystem.

Their partners include CitiBank, Standard Chartered, and BBVA Switzerland.

How does METACO allow UnionBank to offer crypto?

UnionBank is leveraging Harmonize, which is METACOs digital asset custody and orchestration platform:

  • With Harmonize, UnionBank can safely store, transfer, and settle any digital asset or digital asset transaction. 
  • Harmonize will allow UnionBank to scale the service to “millions of wallets,” METACO said. “The platform allows banks and financial institutions to scale to millions of wallets while maintaining control over their private keys for adequate risk management.“

What does the Harmonize platform do?

It essentially allows any bank to

  • Trade, store, and transfer “thousands of crypto assets.”
  • Tokenize and manage regulated and non-regulated tokens.
  • Connect and embed thousands of Web3 decentralized apps securely.

Can UnionBank competitors use Harmonize to offer crypto services?

METACO said the platform is agnostic, enabling any bank to use it as a solution for offering crypto assets.

Of course, the local bank must first obtain the virtual asset service provider (VASP) license to offer crypto in the Philippines.

When will UnionBank offer other cryptocurrencies, such as stablecoins as well, and roll them out to all users?

  • UnionBank has been granted a limited VASP license by the BSP.  Determining the timeline for the service to roll out to all users, and offer other cryptocurrencies is up to UnionBank and the BSP. 
  • To restate: METACO’s Harmonize platform can offer “thousands” of cryptocurrencies, including the ability to offer web3 services, but rolling this out within the UnionBank will depend on the bank and the BSP.

Full statement from Seamus Donogue, Chief Growth Officer of METACO: 

“The platform is asset and protocol agnostic, enabling the banks that use this technology solution to service any type of digital asset that they are licensed to offer. As UnionBank is working closely with the local banking regulator, this will determine the timeline for rolling out the service to other cryptocurrencies, with the possibility to expand these capabilities remaining open to UnionBank in the future.”

This article is published on BitPinas: Crypto-Licensed UnionBank Pilots Bitcoin Trading

Disclaimer: BitPinas articles and its external content are not financial advice. The team serves to deliver independent, unbiased news to provide information for Philippine-crypto and beyond.

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