Itau Unibanco, the largest bank in Brazil by assets, has taken a significant leap into digital assets. The banking giant recently announced the launch of a Bitcoin and Ethereum trading service, marking a pivotal step in integrating cryptocurrencies within mainstream financial services in Latin America.
Bitcoin, Ethereum Trading: Itau Unibanco’s Crypto Foray
Itau Unibanco’s foray into the crypto market is a notable event, particularly considering the bank’s stature in the region. According to a report by Reuters, this move by Itau is part of an expansion of its investment platform to include the trading of prominent cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Guto Antunes, the head of digital assets at Itau, highlighted the bank’s strategic approach to crypto trading, starting with Bitcoin and Ethereum, with plans to diversify its crypto offerings in the future. The head of digital assets at Itau noted:
It starts with Bitcoin, but our overarching strategic plan is to expand to other crypto assets in the future.
Antunes further disclosed that any expansion in their crypto services would be contingent upon the progression of cryptocurrency regulations in Brazil.
Brazil Regulatory Stance On Crypto
In June, a pivotal move was made by Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva towards establishing a clearer regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. President Silva authorized the country’s central bank to oversee and decide which entities are permitted to operate in the crypto market.
Following this development, in September, Brazil’s central bank governor, Roberto Campos Neto, expressed his intention to implement stricter cryptocurrency regulations. Speaking at a Congressional hearing on Finance and Taxation, Campos Neto emphasized the necessity of rigorous supervision for virtual asset brokerages.
This push for enhanced regulatory oversight coincided with a surge in crypto adoption within the country. June saw significant crypto engagement in Brazil, with over 3.2 million individuals and approximately 89,000 businesses actively involved in cryptocurrency transactions.
Notably, Itau Unibanco’s entry into the crypto trading space comes amid the ongoing bull run in the global crypto market. Notably, the timing of this launch seems to align with the current upward trajectory seen in the selected cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin, for instance, has recently surged past the $42,000 mark, exhibiting a robust bullish trend. Although there has been a slight retraction in its price, Bitcoin still trades at around $41,633, showing a 5% increase.
Similarly, Ethereum has mirrored this positive momentum, trading above $2,200, with its price currently at $2,225. The global crypto market cap has also seen a notable uplift, exceeding $1.6 trillion and growing by 3.3%.
Featured image from Unsplash, Chart from TradingView