Itaú Unibanco has launched a new cryptocurrency trading service, positioning itself as a pioneer in the sector within Latin America. The Brazilian bank’s foray into the cryptocurrency market begins with the offering of Bitcoin and Ether, the two most globally recognized cryptos.

Guto Antunes, head of digital assets at the bank, stated that the initial strategy focuses on these two crypto-assets but also revealed plans to expand the offerings. “We start with Bitcoin, but our overall strategic plan is to expand it to other crypto-assets in the future”, affirmed Antunes, highlighting that the expansion will depend on the evolution of regulations in the crypto sphere.

This launch occurs at an exciting time for the cryptocurrency market in Brazil. Two local operators announced their exit from the market just a month ago, generating various speculations. The brokerage and investment firm XP closed its cryptocurrency services, while PicPay, part of the J&F conglomerate that also controls JBS, cited regulatory uncertainties as the reason for its withdrawal.

On the other hand, the inclusion of cryptocurrency trading services by a bank as significant as Itaú Unibanco may indicate a substantial change in the perception and acceptance of cryptocurrencies in the traditional banking sector. This move could be the catalyst for a greater integration of cryptocurrencies in conventional financial services in Brazil and across the region.

The crypto landscape in LatAm

Although there is uncertainty regarding regulations, digital currencies in Latin America are increasingly prominent, with a wide range of platforms available for purchase and sale.

In a study by AppMagic that included six Latin American countries, Brazil showed the highest demand for cryptocurrency apps. In the Amazonian region, Crypto.com is one of the most popular platforms for managing cryptocurrencies through smartphones, accounting for 19% of downloads on these devices. Binance stands out as one of the three most downloaded applications in all the countries analyzed, particularly dominant in Colombia, where it represents almost 60% of the downloads.

On the other hand, in Mexico and Argentina, users tend to prefer local platforms for their cryptocurrency transactions. In Mexico, Bitso leads with 40% of the downloads, while in Argentina, Lemon Cash is the favorite, with 35% of a total of 2.4 million downloads.