Union Bank of the Philippines plans to offer trading and custodial services for cryptocurrencies to capitalize on fast adoption of digital tokens in the Asian nation.

The average Filipino investor will likely hold 3% to 5% of their personal assets in digital assets like Bitcoin in five years assuming markets are “stable,” up from around 1% to 2% now, said Cathy Casas, head of the bank’s blockchain and application programing interface group. Many crypto investors are young people, some of whom earn tokens from play-to-earn virtual games, she said.

“It’s a way to future-proof our banking business,”

Casas said in an interview.

About 5% of the local population have dabbled in cryptocurrencies, Casas estimated. That’s in line with the global average, according to an estimate from Binance Holdings Ltd., operator of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.


The bank’s custodial services for digital assets will also be capable of covering tokenized bonds, Casas said. In 2019, UnionBank became the first Philippine lender to launch its own stablecoin — called PHX — providing rural banks in its network easier access to remittances and payments.

UnionBank will use a system developed by Switzerland’s Metaco for managing its digital-asset operations, according to a statement from Metaco on Thursday.

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