The Aboitiz-owned bank made this announcement when it formally introduced its newly created financial technology (fintech) arm, UBX Philippines Corporation, last Monday in a press conference held in Pasig City.
Making the announcement was UnionBank president and CEO Edwin Bautista. He also revealed that the stablecoin will run on an Enterprise Ethereum-powered platform, Project i2i.
Created by blockchain technology solutions company, Consensys, through its blockchain cloud infrastructure, Kaleido, Project i2i is meant to be a “decentralized, cost-efficient, real-time inter-rural bank payment platform that operates autonomously outside of existing payment infrastructures and intermediaries such as the Philippines’ PhilPass and SWIFT.” The platform intends to “connect rural banks as well as national commercial banks to the central bank, helping remote banks integrate with the domestic financial system while also improving banking access for local citizens.”
UBX president and CEO John Januszczak, for his part, said that since the infrastructure is already ready to go, they are currently focusing on a seamless roll out.
“We’re already BSP approved for the stablecoin, so it’s really at this point a matter of development work and testing,” Januszczak said in the same press conference.
This is not the first time that a Philippine bank is seriously pursuing stablecoin issuance. It can be recalled that Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) signed a letter of intent to issue stablecoins on IBM’s Stellar-powered blockchain platform, World Wire, as early as March this year.
However, with the approval of BSP, it looks like UnionBank might just win the crypto issuance race in the country.
This move also seems to signal UnionBank’s intent to prioritize fintech. UBX CEO Januszczak said as much.
“One of the numerous advantages of being a fintech company today is that regulation is not as strict compared to banks,” he was quoted to say by GMA News.
“This allows more room for thinking ‘outside-the-box’ and implementing new services that those in traditional banking and finance may consider too ‘out-in-left-field,'” he added.
UnionBank, through UBX, said it has reserved as much as Php500 million for fintech initiatives.