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Brazil’s Itau Unibanco to start offering crypto custody services in Q2 2023

The new services will be handled by the bank’s cryptocurrency unit called Itau Digital Assets, which will be initially targeted to the bank’s clientele before being offered to third parties.

Image by: Wikimedia Commons

Mon, 21 Nov 2022, 15:46 pm UTC

One of Brazil’s largest banks, Itau Unibanco, will start offering crypto custody services next year. The new services will be handled by the bank’s cryptocurrency unit called Itau Digital Assets, which will be initially targeted to the bank’s clientele before being offered to third parties.

Itau Unibanco, one of the largest private banks in Brazil and Latin America, revealed its decision to enter into crypto in an announcement on November 17, 2022, Bitcoin.com reported. The company plans to launch its crypto custody services by 2023, which will be handled by Itau Digital Assets, the bank’s crypto division.

Itau Unibanco highlights the importance of reliable crypto custody services by a trusted custodian. “Custody is a fundamental element in this context, because, especially in a new market like crypto assets, it brings security to investors. We will safeguard customer assets in a reliable environment,” the bank’s product manager Eric Alftafim said.

The implementation of the cryptocurrency custody service will happen in two stages. Customers of the bank will be able to avail of these services in the initial phase. In the second stage, these services will be made available to companies, institutions, and other third parties.

Itau Unibanco expects the crypto custody to roll out by the second quarter of 2023. However, the bank did not disclose the cryptos that will be supported by its service.

Itau Unibanco is among the first banks in Brazil to announce this type of service, albeit it is not the first. Another Brazilian financial institution, BTG Pactual, unveiled its crypto custody services in August along with the opening of its own cryptocurrency exchange, called mint.

Itau Unibanco has already made attempts to get involved with cryptocurrency. On July 14, the business hinted that it would start offering crypto trading to its clients. In a similar vein, the bank also runs a tokenization unit that enables clients to create tokens representing real-world assets that can be traded on the bank's own exchange.

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