Brazil’s major bank enters crypto space with new trading service

Brazil’s largest lender, Itau Unibanco, announced its entrance into the crypto market by introducing a trading service for clients on its investment platform. 

The initial offering includes trading in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), with plans to incorporate additional cryptocurrencies.

According to the announcement, the decision would position Itau to compete with local entities like crypto exchange MB, investment bank BTG Pactual’s digital assets unit Mynt, and global players like Binance in the Brazilian market.

“Our initial focus is on Bitcoin, but our broader strategic plan involves expanding to other crypto assets, contingent upon the evolving regulatory landscape in the country.” 

Itau Unibanco representative

At present, uncertainty has shaped the market, with the financial services firm PicPay, owned by conglomerate J&F, attributing its recent decision to exit to “regulatory uncertainties” and XP, a brokerage and investments company, also discontinuing its crypto service.

Preparing for Brazilian CBDC Drex

That said, several players continue to push forward in cryptocurrency innovation. As of Oct. 31, Brazil’s central bank was preparing to launch its digital currency, Drex, with major financial institutions, including Itau Unibanco, BTG Pactual, and Santander Brasil, also being reported as “intensifying their endeavors.”

At the time, these banks were expanding their workforce and making significant investments in the technological infrastructure necessary for the widespread adoption of Drex, providing a positive background for Itau’s new trading service.


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