UnionBank recently announced that it will offer virtual asset exchange services through its mobile banking app. The initiative is part of the bank’s plan to future-proof the firm while creating “customer-centric solutions” as well as to prepare it for the innovations brought by web3 and the metaverse.
Through this new platform feature, the bank’s customers will now be able to purchase and sell cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin directly from the UnionBank mobile banking app without the need for a third-party virtual asset wallet—eliminating the need for multiple apps. Further, the new feature will also make buying and selling crypto easier and more convenient for its users.
According to Henry Aguda, UnionBank’s senior executive vice president and its chief technology and transformation officer, the integration of crypto into its platform is “one of the things that we are working on as we prepare our path towards entering the metaverse.”
He further added that the launch of the new feature on the UB App is like “hitting two birds with one stone” since “not only does this help us ensure (we are) more future-ready, we are also able to serve the needs of our customers who use cryptocurrencies.”
“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. The bank is also eyeing the launch of the country’s first-ever Metaverse Center of Excellence sometime in the next few months,” Aguda added.
To offer virtual asset exchange services, a financial entity must first acquire a virtual asset service providers (VASPs) license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). However, the central bank has recently announced that it will no longer accept VASP license applications in the next three years according to the memorandum signed by Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier, which stated that companies will not be able to apply for a VASP license beginning September 1, 2022. (Read more: BSP Imposes Ban on VASP License Application)
Still, the memorandum stated that existing BSP-supervised institutions (like UnionBank) can still apply even after the deadline.
Moreover, UnionBank Head of Blockchain, Digital asset markets, and API marketplace Cathy Casas, noted that blockchain is a technology to power the future of banking.
“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,” she explained.
Casas also cited last April that Filipino investors will likely hold 3% to 5% of their personal assets in digital assets like Bitcoin in five years assuming markets are “stable.” (Read more: UnionBank: Filipinos Likely to Increase Crypto Holdings to 5% of their Portfolio by 2025)
UnionBank is known to be one of the most crypto-friendly banks in the Philippines; in fact, they revealed their plans about integrating crypto into the bank as early as January of this year. According to Casas, UB will be using the cryptocurrency safekeeping technology from IBM and Swiss custody specialist Metaco. (Read more: UnionBank Plans to Offer Crypto Trading)
However, despite priorly debunking that UnionBank is no longer a crypto-friendly bank, a new report from a user emerged saying that UB “is not Crypto-Friendly bank anymore.”
In a Facebook post, UnionBank patron Robert Uy shared that upon talking to the bank’s agent, all cryptocurrency-related transactions will be flagged as red and account owners will be asked to liquidate their assets before proceeding to closing the account.
This article is published on BitPinas: Users Can Soon Buy and Sell Crypto in UnionBank Mobile App
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