One of the biggest banks in the Philippines, UnionBank, has partnered with a Swiss cryptocurrency company to provide cryptocurrency trading.
UnionBank has launched a pilot program for Bitcoin ( BTC $20,414) and Ether ( ETH $1,556) custody and trading services for select retail customers, the firm said in a joint announcement on Nov. 2.
In partnership with the Swiss crypto technology company Metaco, the new investing and trading capability goes live with UnionBank on Metaco’s Harmonize platform for digital assets. In January 2022, UnionBank and Metaco formed their first joint venture for the creation of cryptocurrency trading services.
UnionBank, which is authorized and governed by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Philippine government’s central bank, has been actively investigating the cryptocurrency market recently.
A stablecoin geared toward payments and pegged to the Philippine peso was introduced by UnionBank in 2019. In order for UnionBank to achieve its goal of offering “customer-centric” services in the Philippines, Metaco has been essential, according to Henry Aguda, chief technology officer and chief transformation officer.
He added that UnionBank is one of the nation’s first regulated cryptocurrency adopters, saying:
“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 features for clients.”
The announcement follows President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines’ emphasis on the value of embracing blockchain technology to handle digital banking and transactions. Marcos mentioned numerous associated UnionBank milestones in a formal presidential speech that was released in September 2022, stating:
“The track record of UnionBank in creating opportunities through innovation and digital solutions in the banking sector is uncontested.”
In the past, the BSP has also cautioned the public against using foreign cryptocurrency trading platforms, highlighting the difficulty in enforcing consumer protection when working with foreign virtual asset service providers. There were 19 VASPs registered in the Philippines as of August.