- Brazilian bank Itaú Unibanco on Monday launched a cryptocurrency trading service for clients of its investment platform.
- This move makes Itaú Unibanco the latest local player to enter the market for the digital asset’s exchange.
Itaú Unibanco, a prominent Brazilian bank, has announced the introduction of Bitcoin and Ether trading services for its clients.
The new offering, available through the bank’s ion investment platform, marks the institution’s foray into the burgeoning cryptocurrency market in Brazil.
Initially, this new service will allow trading of bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, as well as ether, but the lender aims to later add others, said digital asset head Guto Antunes in an interview.
“It starts with bitcoin, but our overarching strategic plan is to expand to other crypto assets in the future,” he said, adding any expansion would depend on how crypto regulation in the country evolved.
The rollout of these services will be phased, focusing initially on regulated trading of Bitcoin and Ether. Itaú has taken a cautious approach to ensure compliance with financial regulations and to provide a secure environment for digital asset transactions.
Guto Antunes, Head of Digital Assets at Itaú Unibanco, highlighted the bank’s commitment to offering digital finance solutions that are both innovative and regulatory compliant.
In a landscape where other Brazilian financial players like XP and PicPay are shutting down, Itaú is positioning itself carefully.
Brokerage and investments company XP did not say why it was shutting down its crypto service, but financial services firm PicPay, owned by conglomerate J&F which also controls meatpacker JBS, cited regulatory uncertainties.
By not enabling external transactions at this stage, the bank maintains control over asset segregation and promotes safety akin to conventional banking accounts.
Antunes also pointed out that future service expansions would be in step with the progression of Brazil’s cryptocurrency regulations. This strategy aims to cater to a digitally savvy clientele while navigating the complexities of centralized cryptocurrency regulation.