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Union Bank of the Philippines Secures Central Bank License to Offer Crypto Trading

Sujha Sundararajan
Last updated: | 1 min read
Source: Pixabay / David Peterson

Philippine’s Union Bank has become the first and only bank in the country to receive a license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to operate as a virtual asset service provider (VASP).

The bank received a ‘Certificate of Authority’ from the central bank, marking it the first in the Philippines to gain the certification. Other VASP license holders include financial institutions such as the Philippine Digital Asset Exchange, Maya and Coins.ph.

The Aboitiz-led bank said in a statement that its online mobile application provides a platform for users to trade cryptocurrencies as well as manage traditional banking and digital assets in a single mobile platform.

The move represents a significant leap forward for UnionBank, president and chief executive Edwin Bautista noted. The lender is seeking to revolutionize the banking landscape, a local media reported.

“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.”

New Feature Introduced

UnionBank also announced a new feature that will enable customers to directly buy and sell Bitcoins (BTC) through its mobile app, which is set to launch by the fourth quarter of this year.

According to Cathy Casas, head of the emerging technology division at UnionBank, the financial landscape is evolving at an “unprecedented pace” and the bank is committed and equipped to meet the evolving needs of consumers.

“In this era where change is constant, our pursuit of this license isn’t just about staying current, but about being future-proof and future-ready.”

The UnionBank went live on its flagship platform Harmonize in November 2022, for a pilot program for crypto custody and trading services to select retail customers, and initially included Bitcoin and Ether (ETH).

In 2019, the bank launched the country’s first two-way virtual currency ATM located in its digital branch – The ARK – located in Makati City.