UnionBank of the Philippines has received a Certificate of Authority from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to operate fully as a virtual asset service provider (VASP), making it the country’s first universal bank authorized to offer mobile cryptocurrency trading services.
UnionBank Gains VASP License From The BSP
UnionBank’s newly acquired full VASP license allows it to provide virtual asset trading to a wider range of customers through its UnionBank Online app. Prior to the approval, these services were only available to a select group of users under a limited virtual asset license, which was earlier reported on BitPinas in October of last year.
The new capability is expected to be deployed incrementally in the last quarter of 2023. It will permit UnionBank customers to purchase and sell Bitcoin directly via the app, thereby consolidating traditional and digital asset management into one mobile platform.
“In this era where change is constant, our pursuit of this license isn’t just about staying current, but about being future-proof and future-ready. The financial landscape is evolving at an unprecedented pace, and we want to be at the forefront, ensuring that we are equipped to meet the evolving needs of our clients.”Cathy Casas, SVP and Head of Emerging Technology Group, UnionBank
What the VASP License Means for UnionBank
UnionBank President and CEO, Edwin Bautista, noted that securing the license marks a substantial advancement for the bank, providing it a digital edge and potentially opening doors for future innovations.
“By obtaining this license, we are not only paving the way for even more groundbreaking opportunities, but also enhancing our digital capabilities and further transforming the way our customers interact with us.”Edwin Bautista, CEO, UnionBank
The Digital Journey: UnionBank’s Previous Crypto Initiatives
UnionBank has shown previous interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. In 2019, the bank set up the Philippines’ first bank-operated, two-way cryptocurrency ATM at its Makati City digital branch. This move aligns with UnionBank’s “Tech-Up Pilipinas” initiative, aimed at boosting digital literacy and financial inclusion among Filipinos.
UnionBank also partnered with ConsenSys for Project I2I, which connects rural bank to the main PH banking network via the blockchain.
The bank has had a number of initiatives:
- UnionBank launches crypto ATM
- UnionBank to provide crypto custody
- UnionDigital to launch stablecoin PHD
- UnionDigital eyes venturing to NFT
Last year, the BSP clarified to BitPinas that UnionBank was operating under a limited VASP license while its full application was under review. According to the central bank, universal banks must first secure a VASP license before providing any virtual asset-related services.
UnionBank affirmed that all its activities in the cryptocurrency and web3 space have the full backing of the BSP.
This article is published on BitPinas: UnionBank Secures Full VASP Crypto Exchange License from the BSP
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