Brazilian Bank Itau Unibanco Launches Crypto Trading Services

Unibanco Launches Crypto Trading Services

TL;DR

  • Brazil’s largest bank, Itau Unibanco, is launching a crypto trading service for its clients as part of its investment platform.
  • The move comes as Itau Bank and other lenders ramp up their headcount. These lenders are adding resources to prepare for the nationwide digital Brazillian real—Drex rollout.

Brazil’s Itau Unibanco Unveils Crypto Trading Services

Brazilian largest bank, Itau Unibanco, is launching crypto trading services to its clients as part of its investment platform.

Brazil's Itau Unibanco to offer Cryptocurency trading services.
Itau Unibanco will offer crypto trading services | Source: Shutterstock

According to Reuters’ report on Dec 4, 2023, Brazil’s largest bank by assets will debut crypto trading with Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

It will then structure its plans to add more cryptos for trading in the future, as reported by Guto Antunes, Itau’s head of digital assets.

Itau Bank may serve as a cryptocurrency custodian for crypto trading services. This means that it will store cryptocurrency assets for its clients.

Antunes reportedly said that initially, Itau clients would not deposit or withdraw cryptocurrency using external crypto wallets.

The most important thing is that when you keep your money in the bank account, you will have the guarantee of Itau’s balance sheet as security for the amounts invested.

Guto Antunes, head of digital assets for Itau, said.

Itau Bank Embraces Blockchain Ahead of Drex Launch

The news comes as various of Brazil’s biggest lenders embrace blockchain. They’ve been adding resources to prepare for the nationwide rollout of the digital Brazillian real—the Drex.

These big lenders include Itau Unibanco, Santander Brasil, and BTG Pactual.

Additionally, Itau Bank had recently launched a digital asset custody earlier this year. Antunes admitted that 85% of its clients were interested and wanted to keep their crypto with the bank.

Itau Bank in Brazil welcomes crypto trading services.
Itau Bank welcomes cryptocurrency trading services | Source: iStock

The move allows Itau Bank to compete with other Brazillian entities operating in the digital asset space.

Moreover, it presents a good opportunity for Brazil to become a potential hub for digital activity and company presence as USDT becomes the most popular cryptocurrency in Brazil

Conversely, the bank assures its clients of the ability to compete in the market, serving as a custodian and safeguarding user assets.

Cryptocurrency Companies Close Shop in Brazil

The move comes about a month after some local players announced they were leaving the crypto market. Brokerage and investment company XP (XPO) didn’t disclose why it was closing its doors regarding crypto service.

Conversely, financial services firm PicPay, owned by conglomerate J&F, which controls meatpacker JBS (JBSS3.SA), indicated regulatory uncertainties.

One may speculate that it may be due to the recent tax proposal regulations. The proposal suggests Brazilians stump up taxes on foreign cryptocurrency earnings in January next year.

However, this development shows that some Brazilian entities are still trying to seek entry points to this growing market.

As Itau Bank participates in the emerging market, OKX discusses Brazil’s burgeoning market.

Will the development elevate the country as a hub for potential digital asset activity and company presence?