Trading digital assets in UnionBank’s app is part of a broader future-proofing strategy

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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 recently said the feature is 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 that UnionBank is ultimately looking to establish a presence in the metaverse by embracing blockchain technology.

“By launching this new feature, we are killing two birds with one stone: future-proofing the bank and meeting the needs of customers who use cryptocurrencies. It’s one of the things we’re working on as we lead the way into 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 is the future of banking. However, the digital asset trading feature also responds to customer demands.

Currently, UnionBank has continued to roll out the digital asset exchange feature to more users of its mobile banking app by random selection. A public launch is expected soon, according to the bank.

The feature, in line with central bank approval, allows users to buy and sell digital currencies such as BTC directly from UnionBank’s mobile banking app without the need for an exchange or a third-party wallet.

UnionBank Pioneering Metaverse Adoption in the Philippines

UnionBank first expressed interest in establishing a presence in the metaverse last year. At the time, Universal Bank revealed that it was already working to bring its financial services into the metaverse.

Since then, the bank has announced that it will launch the first-ever Metaverse Center of Excellence in the Philippines. He also launched the Tech-Up Pilipinas advocacy effort to educate regulators and the public about metaverse technology and signed a partnership with non-fungible token gaming platform Art of Dreams.

Meanwhile, UnionBank has continued to pioneer technology use cases in the financial industry. The bank issued the first blockchain-backed 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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