UnionBank eyes digital currency trading and custody services in the Philippines as adoption soars


As digital currency adoption skyrockets in the Philippines, a local bank plans to capitalize on this growth to “future proof” its banking business. UnionBank of the Philippines revealed that it plans to offer digital currency trading and custody as it expects greater investment in the sector over the next five years.

UnionBank, considered by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as the 10th largest with $15 billion in assets, sees the local digital asset market exploding in the near future.

In one interview with Bloomberg, Cathy Casas, head of the bank’s blockchain and API group, said the average Filipino investor will hold 3%-5% of their assets in a digital currency in five years, up from 1%-2% now.

Casas added that most people currently investing in digital assets are young, with some earning their tokens through play-to-earn games, an area where the massively scalable BSV blockchain has an edge over other blockchain networks. .

UnionBank is betting on a future in which digital assets play a bigger role, with Casas telling Bloomberg, “It’s a way to future-proof our banking business.” She further estimates that so far around 5% of Filipinos, or just over 5 million people, have dabbled in digital assets.

In a statement, the bank said it had picked tech giant IBM and Swiss custodian Metaco for its digital asset business.

According to Seamus Donoghue, vice president of business at Metaco, the partnership is strategic for UnionBank because many global banks are already IBM customers.

“Think of all the leading banks in the market, they’re probably all IBM customers, many of them strategic customers. They can leverage the existing stack and existing runtime capabilities to manage Metaco vaults directly from the existing infrastructure. And we have a number of other similar transactions in the works, leveraging our combined capabilities,” he said in an interview.

As for UnionBank, the focus for now is on educating customers to ensure they don’t get lost in the world of digital assets or end up losing their money.

“We strive to educate our customers also through social media, making sure they are safe,” Casas said.

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