UnionBank of the Philippines became the first bank to offer digital asset trading services in the Philippines when it began testing the feature earlier this month. The bank has recently stated that the feature is a part of its strategy to future-proof itself through the metaverse.
In an interview with Business Inquirer, UnionBank Senior Executive Vice President Henry Aguda said UnionBank is ultimately looking to establish a presence in the metaverse by adopting blockchain technology.
“By launching this new feature, we are hitting two birds with one stone—future-proofing the bank and satisfying the needs of customers who use cryptocurrencies. This is one of the things we are working on as we clear our path towards the metaverse,” said Aguda, who is also the bank’s Chief Technology and Operations Officer and Chief Transformation Officer.
Cathy Casas, Head of Blockchain Center of Excellence, Digital Asset Markets, and API Marketplace Group at UnionBank, added that the bank believes blockchain technology to be the future of banking. However, the digital asset trading feature is also in response to client requests.
The feature, in line with the central bank’s approval, allows users to buy and sell digital currencies like BTC directly from UnionBank’s mobile banking app without needing any third-party exchange or wallet.
UnionBank pioneering metaverse adoption in the Philippines
UnionBank first indicated an interest in establishing a presence in the metaverse last year. At the time, the universal bank revealed that it was already working on bringing its financial services to the metaverse.
Since then, the bank has announced that it would launch the Philippines’ first-ever Metaverse Center of Excellence. It has also launched the Tech-Up Pilipinas advocacy effort to educate regulators and the populace about metaverse technology and signed a partnership with homegrown Non-fungible token gaming platform Art of Dreams.
Meanwhile, UnionBank has continued to pioneer technology use cases in the financial sector. The bank has issued the first blockchain-back digital peso bond in the country in partnership with the Philippines Depository and Trust Corporation (PDTC), Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC), and Standard Chartered Bank (SCB).
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