UnionBank Philippines makes history with the nation’s first full VASP license, solidifying its leadership in digital finance.

In a groundbreaking development for the cryptocurrency industry in the Philippines, UnionBank of the Philippines, a trusted partner of Ripple, has achieved a significant milestone. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the country’s central bank, has granted UnionBank the first-ever full Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license, positioning the institution as a pioneer in the nation’s financial landscape.

This historic achievement marks a crucial step forward for UnionBank, as it transforms from a traditional banking institution into a digital powerhouse capable of offering comprehensive cryptocurrency services to a broader spectrum of its clientele.

UnionBank’s Path to VASP Approval

Before obtaining this groundbreaking license, UnionBank had limited its cryptocurrency services to a select group of app users. With the full VASP license in hand, the bank is now prepared to expand its crypto business, democratizing access to cryptocurrency services for a wider audience.

Cathy Casas, Senior Vice President of UnionBank, explained the institution’s forward-looking perspective, stating, “Our pursuit of this license isn’t just about staying current, but about being future-proof and future-ready.” Casas emphasized the rapid evolution of the financial landscape and the bank’s commitment to staying ahead of the curve, ensuring they can meet the ever-changing demands of their clients.

UnionBank’s Chief Executive Officer, Edwin Bautista, echoed these sentiments, noting that the VASP license would enhance their digital capabilities and transform the way customers interact with the bank. He stated, “By obtaining this license, [we are] enhancing our digital capabilities and further transforming the way our customers interact with us.”

Expanded Crypto Features on the Horizon

According to reports, UnionBank plans to gradually introduce expanded cryptocurrency features in the last quarter of 2023. This feature will enable customers to seamlessly buy and sell Bitcoin through the bank’s application, offering a user-friendly gateway to the world of digital assets.

Ripple and UnionBank’s Collaborative Journey

The path to this remarkable achievement was not a solitary one for UnionBank. Crypto Eri, a prominent figure in the XRP community, highlighted the bank’s journey to securing the VASP license. She noted that UnionBank and Ripple began their collaboration back in 2019 when they powered a wallet with XRP-based On-Demand Liquidity. This partnership continued to evolve, with the bank going live with crypto services in 2022 through Ripple-owned firm Metaco. The recent regulatory approval represents the latest and most significant step in UnionBank’s ongoing crypto endeavors.

This historic development underscores the growing acceptance and adoption of cryptocurrencies in the Philippines’ financial sector. UnionBank’s pioneering VASP license not only sets a precedent for other financial institutions in the country but also demonstrates the bank’s commitment to providing innovative and future-ready financial solutions to its customers. As the cryptocurrency industry continues to evolve, UnionBank’s bold move positions it at the forefront of the digital financial revolution in the Philippines.


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