The Union Bank of Philippines is planning to expand its crypto-servicing desk by offering custody and sundry services.
In a recent statement by the head of the bank’s blockchain and applications programming interface section, Cathy Casas said that this is targeted at ensuring that the bank takes advantage of the increasing popularity of digital assets in the country.
“It’s a way to future-proof our banking business,” said Casas while speaking to a reporter in an interview.
More Filipinos Investing In Digital Currencies
According to Casas, if there is no drastic change in the trend in the crypto market, in 5 years, 3% to 5% of assets owned by Filipinos would likely be in digital assets. Presently, the citizens are having between 1% and 3% of their assets in cryptocurrencies. These are mostly the young who earn some of these assets by playing play-to-earn games.
One in five Filipinos already are aware of and have invested in cryptocurrencies. This is higher than the 5% global average by 15%. This was made known by Binance Holdings Ltd, the company behind Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.
Union Bank of Philippines is not new in cryptocurrency investment. In 2019, the bank introduced a stablecoin known as PHX to help extend its services to people in rural areas of Philippines.
Casas said that the new service would entail custodial services as well as tokenization of bonds that the bank is already helping its customers with.
Nevertheless, the trend which has seen more interest in digital assets has also intensified scrutiny by regulators who are concerned that the asset class is mostly not regulated. In Singapore, the main regulator stopped marketing activities targeting consumers.
The governor of the Central Bank of The Philippines, Benjamin Diokno also warned of risks associated with crypto investments. He said that they could “pose a danger to the financial system” and also may facilitate money laundering and terror financing.
Casas however said that:
“We are making efforts to educate our clients also via social media, making sure that they are safe,”