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Itaú Unibanco,Brazil’s Largest Bank Expands Crypto Trading to All Users

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Itaú Unibanco, the largest financial institution in Latin America, has now enabled crypto trading for all users of its Íon investment platform. This expansion allows clients to buy and sell Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) directly through the platform’s app.

Expansion of Crypto Trading on the Íon Investment Platform

The decision to open crypto trading to a broader audience came after weekly surveys conducted with an initial group of clients. These surveys indicated strong support for crypto-related products, according to Guto Antunes, head of Itaú Digital Assets. In an interview with the Brazilian newspaper Valor Econômico, Antunes highlighted the bank’s commitment to developing secure solutions internally rather than outsourcing them. He stated,

“We have a participation and partnership with Liqi, but nothing regarding custody. The entire custody solution was designed and implemented within Itaú with our fiduciary duty in mind.”

The Íon investment platform has already achieved over 3.5 million downloads across Android and iOS devices, a milestone Antunes described as significant for the crypto space. However, despite this high acceptance, the current offering remains limited to BTC and ETH. Antunes acknowledged that clients have been requesting additional tokens, which the bank is considering. These additional tokens will be added after a comprehensive regulatory risk assessment is completed.

Aiming to Become a Key Player in Brazil’s Growing Crypto Market

Itaú Unibanco’s entry into the crypto market in late 2023 marked the beginning of its efforts to compete with local entities like BTG Pactual’s digital assets unit Mynt and the crypto exchange MB, as well as global players such as Binance, within the Brazilian market. The crypto trading landscape in Latin America has become increasingly competitive, with major financial institutions and international giants vying for market dominance. This competition is driven by the growing demand for diverse crypto-related products and services and the need for robust security measures and regulatory compliance. This dynamic environment is fostering innovation and accelerating the adoption of cryptocurrencies across the Brazilian market.

Regarding the inclusion of stablecoins, Antunes mentioned that Itaú is waiting for clear regulations from Brazil’s central bank. He did not provide specific details on the expected timeframe for this development.

In conclusion, Itaú Unibanco’s expansion of its crypto trading services through the Íon investment platform marks a significant step in the bank’s strategy to offer innovative financial products to its clients. With strong initial support and a robust internal security framework, the bank is well-positioned to become a key player in Brazil’s growing crypto market.

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