UnionBank is first PH bank to become a virtual asset service provider
MANILA -By the fourth quarter, clients of Union Bank of the Philippines will be able to tap its mobile cryptocurrency facility after securing the license to do so—the first among local universal banks.
The Aboitiz-led bank, in a statement on Tuesday, said that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas had granted them the certificate of authority to operate as a virtual asset service provider (VASP).
VASP is an entity that facilitates the transfer or exchange of virtual assets, which are digital units that can be traded online and used for payment or investment purposes.
The listed bank said it would “gradually” roll out the new feature during the last quarter.
It will enable bank customers to directly buy and sell bitcoin via the mobile app, allowing them to manage both traditional banking and digital assets in one platform.
“This milestone represents a significant leap forward for UnionBank as we continue to revolutionize the banking landscape. By obtaining this license, we are not only paving the way for even more groundbreaking opportunities, but also enhancing our digital capabilities and further transforming the way our customers interact with us,” UnionBank president and CEO Edwin Bautista said.
The financial institution said that adopting blockchain technology and exploring its use cases, including cryptocurrency, would be crucial in adapting to the evolving customer needs.
In the latest Chainalysis Global Crypto Adoption Index, the Philippines slid by four notches to sixth spot as other countries grew faster but still showed dominance nonetheless as it belonged to the top 10.
“In the Philippines, where many want to speculate on new assets, make extra cash and connect digitally with others, play-to-earn games were able to gain an enormous foothold,” the New York-based blockchain analysis firm explained.
About 25 percent of Filipinos have joined play-to-earn games, Chainalysis said previously.
It noted that the Philippines made up about 40 percent of the player base of Axie Infinity—a game that gained traction at the height of the pandemic—at one point.