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Brazil’s Largest Private Bank Itaú Plans to Debut Tokenization Platform

Updated: Aug 11, 2022

Originally posted by CoinGeek on Jul 20, 2022.

Itaú Unibanco, the largest private bank in Brazil, has announced plans to launch its new asset tokenization platform. According to the bank, the platform that will allow for the representation of regular finance products as blockchain-based tokens should open up to retail investors before the end of the year.

In an interview with local news outlet InfoMoney, Vanessa Fernandes, the head of the Itaú Digital Assets unit that was created to oversee the platform, said that the platform is not like anything currently in the Brazilian market. In addition to tokenization services, the platform will introduce digital assets custody services and token-as-a-service (TaaS) offerings.

“The platform will carry out both the issuance, distribution and custody of crypto-assets (tokens) as well as the integration with other Itaú products and channels,” the executive said.

Further details the executive disclosed include the internal testing of the platform by bank employees and selected Private Bank clients through the issuance of anticipated receivables. The platform is built on the open-source Ethereum client called Hyperledger Besu.

The former Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan employee clarified that the platform will kick off with strictly tokenization services as the digital currency custody service is still uncertain.

Itaú Unibanco, with over 4000 branches spread across Brazil, is one of the nine partners working with Banco Central do Brasil (BCB) on the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) project—the digital real.

Brazil’s financial sector embracing blockchain technology

Itaú Unibanco is not the first bank to embrace blockchain technology in Brazil. Brazilian Banks, including Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Caixa Economica Federal, and Santander Bank, all revealed that they are working on various blockchain technology integrations this year.

In 2021, investment bank BTG Pactual launched a digital currency investment platform called Mynt. The push is even more prominent among younger digital banks that are springing up in Brazil.

The increase in the adoption of digital assets and blockchain technology has prompted regulators in the Latin American country to look to tighten laws guiding the industry. Regulations have been proposed for licensing virtual assets service providers and allowing for the acceptance of digital assets as a payment method.

Brazil has also revised its digital assets taxation regime to accommodate digital assets transactions made without involving local currency.

Watch: The BSV Global Blockchain Convention panel, Tokenizing Assets & Securities on Blockchain

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