Brazil’s largest bank Itaú Unibanco launches Bitcoin trading — Report

    2023.12.04 | exchangesranking | 175onlookers

    Brazilian bank Itaú Unibanco has launched a cryptocurrency trading service for its clients as part of its investment platform, Reuters reported on Dec. 4.

    Itaú, the largest bank by assets in Brazil and one of the leading lenders in Latin America, is debuting crypto trading with Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), digital asset head Guto Antunes reportedly said. In the future, the bank plans to add more cryptocurrencies for trading, he noted.

    Itaú Bank will serve as the cryptocurrency custodian for the crypto trading service, meaning that it will store crypto assets for its clients. Antunes reportedly noted that initially, Itaú clients will not be able to deposit and withdraw cryptocurrency using external crypto wallets. He stated:

    “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.”

    Itaú Unibanco didn’t immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request to comment.

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    The news comes as Brazil’s biggest lenders — including Itaú Unibanco, BTG Pactual and Santander Brasil — are reportedly ramping up headcount and adding resources in preparation for the nationwide rollout of the digital Brazilian real, called the Drex. Itaú reportedly launched digital asset custody earlier this year, with Antunes disclosing that 85% of its clients were interested in keeping their crypto with the bank.

    It’s been about a month since two local players announced they were leaving the crypto market. According to Reuters, brokerage and investment company XP Investimentos recently announced a shutdown of its crypto services without citing its reasons. The financial services firm PicPay, owned by conglomerate J&F, which also controls meatpacker JBS, reportedly cited regulatory uncertainties for terminating the crypto business.

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