Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) announced that it will soon offer virtual asset exchange services through its mobile banking app. This will make the bank the first universal bank in the Philippines to offer such services.
UnionBank customers can now purchase and sell Bitcoin (BTC) directly from the UnionBank mobile banking app without the need for a third-party virtual asset wallet. This eliminates the need for multiple apps.
The new feature will be rolled out to randomly pre-selected UnionBank customers, who will be able to see the Virtual Asset functionality in their app. The launch is in compliance with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) regulation on Virtual Asset Services, with the bank eyeing a wider roll-out in the near future.
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“Blockchain is a technology that we think will power the future of banking,” said Cathy Casas, head of Blockchain Center of Excellence, Digital Asset Markets and API Marketplace Group at UnionBank. “At the same time, we also recognize that cryptocurrency has been one of the services that a lot of customers are already looking for, especially the younger generation, and this demand was accelerated by the pandemic.”
With blockchain a major component of its future-proofing strategy, UnionBank has been exploring new use cases for the technology and its offshoots such as cryptocurrency.
“This also aligns with the bank’s efforts in expanding its footprint in the metaverse, after its first entry into the space through its partnership with homegrown NFT game Ark of Dreams last April.” UnionBank said in a media release.
The bank is also eyeing the launch of the country’s first-ever Metaverse Center of Excellence sometime in the next few months.