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Brazilian Bank Itau Unibanco Rolls Out Bitcoin and Ethereum Trading Services to Customers 

Reuters said the launch of the BTC and Ether trading services by Unibanco comes a few months after two of the country’s companies exited the crypto market. 

Brazilian banking giant Itau Unibanco has joined the crypto bandwagon with the launch of digital asset trading services for customers as part of its investment platforms, Reuters reported Monday, citing an interview with the company’s digital asset head Guto Antunes.

According to the report, the financial services company, standing as one of the largest lenders in Latin America, is commencing its foray into the virtual asset market with a focus on two major cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

Antunes revealed that while the initial offering is centered around the two leading digital assets by market capitalization, the bank’s broader strategic vision involves expanding its crypto services to include a variety of virtual assets in the future.

“It starts with Bitcoin, but our overarching strategic plan is to expand to other crypto assets in the future,” he said.

Brazil’s Itau Unibanco Bank to Offer Custodial Services to Customers

However, the scope of the planned expansion is contingent on the evolution of cryptocurrency regulations within Brazil. Antunes emphasized that the pace and extent of the growth of the new crypto services will be closely tied to how regulatory frameworks unfold in the country.

Earlier this year, President Lula da Silva appointed Banco Central do Brasil, the country’s central bank, as the region’s primary regulatory authority overseeing cryptocurrencies.

The bank is responsible for monitoring and regulating all digital asset service providers, including Unibanco, which has just rolled out crypto trading services to customers across the nation.

The move has placed the bank in direct competition with local crypto companies such as MB, a digital asset trading platform, investment bank BTG digital assets subsidiary Mynt, and even global giants like Binance.

Despite the intensifying competition, Antunes, the head of digital assets at Unibanco, said he is confident in the bank’s ability to withstand the rivalry, citing its robust service offerings. He said the financial services company will serve as a custodian, safeguarding users’ assets throughout their crypto trading journey.

Two Brazilian Companies Exist in the Crypto Market

Reuters said the launch of the BTC and Ether trading services by Unibanco comes a few months after two of the country’s companies exited the crypto market.

As per the report, one of the companies, XP, a brokerage and investments firm, shuttered its crypto operations without disclosing specific reasons for the closure. However, the second firm, PicPay, a major payment gateway in Brazil, cited regulatory hurdles as the cause of the exit.

The payment company joined the crypto bandwagon in 2022 after integrating crypto exchange services into the platform in August. The move allowed customers to buy, sell, and store BTC and Ether directly on the platform.

After a year of service, the firm announced its closure in October. However, it plans to continue its work with Brazil’s central bank on the ongoing Real Digital (Drex) tests.

“There is no change in our belief in technology as infrastructure, and we remain available to work with the Central Bank to stimulate and popularize this market in Brazil,” said Anderson Chamon, senior executive at PicPay.



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