UnionBank of the Philippines has achieved a milestone by becoming the sole bank in the nation to secure a license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to function as a virtual asset service provider (VASP). The bank proudly holds the ‘Certificate of Authority’ from the central bank, distinguishing it as the premier bank in the country with this certification. Other institutions with the VASP license include the Philippine Digital Asset Exchange, Maya, and Coins.ph.
UnionBank highlighted that its online mobile app offers a dual-purpose platform. Users can not only handle their conventional banking needs but also trade cryptocurrencies. Edwin Bautista, the president and CEO of UnionBank, emphasized the bank’s intent to bring about a transformative change in the banking sector. He stated, “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.”
Furthermore, UnionBank has unveiled plans to introduce a feature allowing customers to purchase and trade Bitcoins (BTC) directly via its mobile app, with a launch anticipated in the upcoming fourth quarter.
Cathy Casas, who leads the emerging technology division at UnionBank, commented on the rapid evolution of the financial sector. She expressed the bank’s dedication to addressing the dynamic requirements of its clientele, saying, “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.”
Union Bank had previously initiated its flagship platform, Harmonize, in November 2022. This was a trial run offering crypto custody and trading services to a select group of retail clients, starting with Bitcoin and Ether (ETH). Additionally, in 2019, UnionBank set a precedent by introducing the nation’s inaugural two-way virtual currency ATM at its digital branch, The ARK, situated in Makati City.
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