As digital currency adoption soars in the Philippines, a local bank plans on capitalizing on this growth to “future-proof” its banking business. UnionBank of the Philippines has revealed that it plans on offering digital currency trading and custody as it predicts greater investment in the industry over the next five years.
UnionBank, considered by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as the 10th largest with $15 billion in assets, sees the local digital asset market exploding in the near future.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Cathy Casas, head of the bank’s blockchain and API group, said that the average Filipino investors will hold 3% to 5% of their assets in a digital currency in five years, up from 1% to 2% currently.
Casas added that most of the people currently investing in digital assets are young, with some earning their tokens from play-to-earn games, a sector in which the massively scalable BSV blockchain has an edge over other blockchain networks.
UnionBank is betting on a future in which digital assets play a more significant role, with Casas telling Bloomberg, “It’s a way to future-proof our banking business.” She further estimates that so far, about 5% of Filipinos, or just over 5 million people, have tried their hand with digital assets.
In a statement, the bank announced that it had picked tech giant IBM and Swiss custodian Metaco for its digital asset business.
According to Seamus Donoghue, the VP of business at Metaco, the partnership is strategic for UnionBank as many global banks are already IBM clients.
“Think of all the tier-one banks in the market, they’re probably all IBM clients, many of them strategic clients. They can leverage the existing stack, existing run capabilities to manage Metaco vaults directly from existing infrastructure. And we have a number of other similar deals in the pipeline, leveraging our combined capabilities,” he said in an interview.
As for UnionBank, the focus for now is educating the clients to ensure they don’t get lost in the world of digital assets or end up losing their money.
“We are making efforts to educate our clients also via social media, making sure that they are safe,” Casas stated.
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