Brazil’s Itau Bank Is Planning to Offer Crypto Services to Its Clients
- The crypto services to be offered by Itau include launching a tokenization platform and crypto custody services.
The biggest private bank in Brazil, Itau Unibanco, plans to own an asset tokenization platform and start offering crypto custody services. Users of the tokenization platform can convert their traditional finance products to tokens. The financial institution announced its plans on Thursday.
Notably, the bank has already created a digital asset unit (known as Itau Digital Asset). According to the announcement, this service is now available only to the bank’s institutional clients. However, the service will be open for retail clients before the year ends.
An official statement by the bank said that Itau also plans to launch crypto trading services soon. However, the official announcement didn’t give any schedule regarding when the bank plans to launch this service. The bank also announced that Vannessa Fernandez would head its digital assets unit.
As a senior executive, Fernandez’s experience spans technology, compliance, and internal controls. Earlier in the year, Brazil’s central bank chose Itau as one of its nine partners for the development of the nation’s digital currency (the digital Real). Brazil’s apex bank plans to launch the pilot version of its national digital currency this year. Then, it will launch its final version in the next two years.
Itau Joins Other Brazil’s Fintech Firms in the Crypto Space
Itau has followed the steps of Brazil’s top fintech players in exploring crypto space. Last year, Itau’s $4.5 billion revenue was the highest among other private banks. The private bank that came close to Itau was Bradesco, which generated $4 billion in revenue.
On Monday, PicPay, a popular digital payments app in Brazil, announced that it would launch a crypto exchange soon. PicPay’s more than 30 million users can access Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and Paxos’s USDP stablecoin.
The company said it would also launch a stablecoin pegged to Brazil’s fiat currency before the end of the year. PicPay users can send or use this stablecoin for transaction purposes. The company’s vice-president of technology and products, Anderson Chamon, said PicPay’s primary reason for exploring the crypto is to decentralize financial services, including digital payments.
Two months ago, another Brazil-based fintech firm launched its crypto trading platform. Following the launch, Nubank users can swap or transfer Bitcoin and Ether. Based on market value, many industry analysts regard Nubank as Brazil’s most prominent digital bank.
The bank’s parent firm, nu holdings, said it would put away about one percent of its balance sheet cash into Bitcoin. Paxos blockchain system provides technical support for Nubank’s crypto trading and custody service.
Brazil’s crypto adoption rate has been crazy, especially since the last year. Data from the nation’s tax agency, the Receita Federal, states that residents traded over $11 billion worth of stablecoins between January and November last year. That figure is about 300 percent higher than the amount locals traded in 2020.