#FinancePH - First universal bank in the Philippines, UnionBank, to provide virtual asset exchange services via a mobile banking app

A significant step toward future-proofing the bank and developing customer-centric solutions fueled by technology and innovation, Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) is now prepared to become the first universal banking entity in the nation to provide virtual asset exchange services through its mobile banking app.

Customers of UnionBank may now buy and sell Bitcoin (BTC) directly from the UnionBank mobile banking app without the use of a third-party virtual asset wallet thanks to the new feature. This makes purchasing and selling BTC easier and more convenient than ever before and eliminates the need for several apps.

Customers of UnionBank who were previously pre-selected at random will now have access to the new feature, which includes the Virtual Asset functionality on their app. With an eye toward a wider roll-out in the near future, the launch complies with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' (BSP) legislation on Virtual Asset Services.

UnionBank has been working hard to explore new use cases for the aforementioned technology and its offshoots, such as cryptocurrencies, as a key part of its future-proofing strategy. This fits in with the Bank's aspirations to increase its presence in the metaverse after making its initial foray into the area last April through its collaboration with domestic NFT game Ark of Dreams.The Bank is also eyeing the launch of the country’s first-ever Metaverse Center of Excellence sometime in the next few months.

"Blockchain is a technology that we think will power the future of banking. At the same time, we also recognize that cryptocurrency has been one of the services that a lot of customers are already looking for, especially the younger generation, and this demand was accelerated by the pandemic," said Cathy Casas, Head of Blockchain Center of Excellence, Digital Asset Markets and API Marketplace Group at UnionBank.

"By launching this new feature, we are hitting two birds with one stone. Not only does this help us ensure that the Bank is more future-ready, we are also able to serve the needs of our customers who use cryptocurrencies," Henry Aguda, Senior Executive Vice President Chief Technology and Operations Officer and Chief Transformation Officer said. "This is also one of the things that we are working on as we prepare our path towards entering the metaverse."

The recently unveiled feature is part of UnionBank’s ‘Tech-Up Pilipinas’ advocacy which aims to promote digital literacy among Filipinos, in line with its goal of enabling inclusive prosperity in the country.

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