Largest private lender in Brazil Itau Unibanco enters the crypto arena with bitcoin trading service.
Itau Unibanco, Brazil’s largest private bank, has joined the ranks of traditional financial institutions embracing digital assets. According to a Reuters report dated December 4, the institution has launched a cryptocurrency trading service for the select clients of its investment platform.
In July 2022, the lender announced the creation of Itaú Digital Assets, a new business unit responsible for the process of transforming assets into digital form and their safe custody.
This fact differentiates the lender from other local crypto service providers. In particular, Itau doesn’t need an intermediary to store customer funds. The bank itself acts as a custodian to safeguard user assets.
Reportedly, Itau Unibanco will start offering the most well-established and reputable cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin and Ethereum – to its clients at launch. The institution is also considering adding other crypto assets to its trading platform in the future. However, the potential variety of trading pairs will depend on local regulatory aspects.
As we have previously reported, Brazil adopted crypto law in late 2022. The law legalised digital currency use in Brazil and established a strict licensing regime for crypto asset service providers. Although it took effect in mid-2023, some legal preparations are still a work in progress. For instance, ancillary regulation is expected to be published by the Central Bank of Brazil (BACEN) by the end of 2023.