Itau Unibanco, Brazil’s largest bank, has officially entered the cryptocurrency exchange market, launching a trading service for its investment platform clients.
The service debuted on Monday and enables users to trade Bitcoin and Ether, the two most popular cryptocurrencies.
Itau Expands Crypto Trading with Diverse Portfolio
According to a Reuters report, Guto Antunes, the head of digital assets at Itau, revealed that the bank plans to expand its offerings to include other cryptocurrencies in the future.
“Our strategic plan is to broaden our crypto assets portfolio, keeping a close eye on the country’s regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies,” Antunes stated.
Itau Unibanco’s venture into crypto trading positions it as a direct competitor to local crypto exchanges like MB and BTG Pactual’s Mynt, as well as international giants such as Binance.
Antunes emphasized that Itau’s unique selling proposition lies in its dual role as a trading platform and a custodian, ensuring enhanced security for users’ digital assets.
This launch comes at a critical time, following the withdrawal of two local players from the crypto market. XP, a brokerage and investment firm, and PicPay, a financial services entity owned by J&F, recently exited the crypto space.
XP did not specify a reason for discontinuing its crypto services. On the other hand, PicPay explicitly attributed its exit to regulatory uncertainties.
Itau Unibanco’s Ventures in the Digital Asset Space
Beyond cryptocurrency trading, Itau Unibanco has been actively investing in the digital asset space. The bank operates a tokenization unit, enabling customers to issue tokens representing real-world assets on its exchange.
Itau has also been involved in the LIFT Lab, presenting a solution for a Brazilian Real-pegged stablecoin. This initiative aims to facilitate rapid and decentralized exchange between various fiat currency tokens.
Itau Unibanco, alongside BTG Pactual and Santander Brasil, is preparing for the launch of Brazil’s digital currency, the Drex. In partnership with the Central Bank of Brazil, these banks are ramping up resources and manpower, signaling a comprehensive digital transformation in Brazil’s financial sector.
Itau Unibanco’s latest venture into cryptocurrency trading marks a significant milestone in Brazil’s banking sector, signifying the growing acceptance and integration of digital currencies in mainstream financial services.
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