MANILA — UnionBank said it would become the first universal bank in the country to offer virtual asset exchange through its mobile banking app.
Select UnionBank users will be able to buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin directly from the app without the need for a third party wallet, the lender said in a statement.
"Blockchain is a technology that we think will 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," UnionBank Digital Asset Markets and API Marketplace Group Head of Blockchain Center of Excellence Cathy Casas said.
The new feature will be rolled out to randomly pre-selected users, UnionBank said, with the goal of wider rollout "in the near future."
"Not only does this help us ensure that the Bank is more future-ready, we are also able to serve the needs of our customers who use cryptocurrencies," said Henry Aguda said, UnionBank Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Technology and Operations Officer, and Chief Transformation Officer.
"This is also one of the things that we are working on as we prepare our path towards entering the metaverse," he added.
So far, some digital banks such as Maya are offering virtual asset exchange on their platforms.
In April, UnionBank entered a partnership with NFT game Art of Dreams to expand its footprint in the metaverse. It also aims to launch a Metaverse Center of Excellence in the next few months, it said.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas grants virtual asset service provider and virtual currency exchange licenses to eligible financial institutions.