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UnionBank to pilot crypto custody service, enters into partnership with Hex Trust

The bank’s new crypto custody service is aimed at the growing institutional and retail interest for digital assets in the country.

Image by: Wikimedia Commons

Thu, 19 Aug 2021, 06:31 am UTC

The Philippines is among the top countries with the highest crypto usage. To tap into this increasing interest in digitals, UnionBank plans to offer crypto custodial services to its clientele.

The UnionBank of the Philippines, one of the country’s largest financial institutions, has already chosen Hong Kong-based digital assets custodian Hex Trust for its own crypto custody service, according to Coindesk. The bank’s new service is aimed at the growing institutional and retail interest for digital assets in the country.

UnionBank plans to initially test the new service to its employees in a pilot run. Once concluded, the bank will move on to the next phase, which is the crypto custody service’s rollout to the bank’s clients.

If the bank successfully launches the service, it will be the first bank to offer such a service in the country. “We are excited to be the first Philippine bank to pilot a custody service for digital assets for our own employees, overseen by the BSP so that we can prepare the groundwork for a safe and protected system for customers’ digital assets,” UnionBank chief technology and operation officer Henry Aguda said.

A new study by Statista ranked the Philippines as the third country in the world with the highest crypto usage. The survey revealed that 20 percent of the country’s population of 110 million use digital currencies.

The Southeast Asian country is also known as a hot spot for play-to-earn blockchain games. Its central bank is also known for its crypto-friendly policies and has already granted licenses to crypto firms to operate in the country. Meanwhile, the Philippine government has shown its support for blockchain technology with its rollout of a blockchain-based app for distributing bonds.

UnionBank is among the first financial institution to embrace cryptocurrency. In 2019, the bank rolled out the first crypto automated teller machine (ATM) in the Philippines, allowing its clients to withdraw cash straight out of their crypto wallets as well as buy or sell crypto via the machine, according to Business World.

“The reason we’re doing this is because our customers are asking for it,” UnionBank Chairman Justo A. Ortiz said. “Whenever we launch a new product, customer protection is always our primary concern. And because we want to elevate our customer experience, we envision creating a banking opportunity by co-creating them with our customers.”

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