Brazil’s Largest Private Bank Itaú to Launch Tokenization Platform, May Eventually Offer Crypto Trading
Rodrigo Tolotti - Coindesk
This article is adapted from CoinDesk Brasil, a partnership between CoinDesk and InfoMoney, one of Brazil's leading financial news publications. Follow CoinDesk Brasil on Twitter.
Itaú Unibanco, Brazil's largest private bank, plans to launch an asset tokenization platform that transforms traditional finance products into tokens and also offers crypto custody services for its customers, the company announced Thursday.
The new unit, Itaú Digital Assets, will first be available for institutional clients, while a retail version is expected to launch by the end of 2022.
At a press conference, the company said that it has not ruled out offering cryptocurrency trading services to retail customers in the future, without giving further details.
Vanessa Fernandez, a senior executive with experience in compliance, internal controls and technology at Itaú, will serve as Itaú Digital Assets' head, the company added.
In March, Itaú was among the nine partners chosen by the Central Bank of Brazil to help it develop a digital real, Brazil's central bank digital currency (CBDC).
The entry of Itaú into the crypto segment comes after other major fintech players in the country have taken the same step.
This week, PicPay, a Brazil-based digital payments app with more than 30 million users, announced it plans to launch a crypto exchange and a Brazilian real-tied stablecoin later in 2022. In May, Nubank, the largest Brazilian digital bank by market value, added the option for customers to buy and sell bitcoin and ether on its platform.
Itau reported revenues of $4.5 billion in 2021, ahead of its closest competitor, private bank Bradesco, which had revenues of $4 billion.
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