Itaú, the biggest commercial bank in Latin America with $400 billion in assets under management, is to start offering crypto custody.
Itaú Digital Assets, the division handling crypto, will first start providing custody for its own crypto next year, and then will expand it to corporations and institutional clients.
“Custody is a fundamental element because, especially in a new market like crypto-assets, it brings security to investors. We will safeguard customer assets in a reliable environment,” said Eric Altafim, director of Products at Itaú Unibanco according to local media.
The bank recently hired Guto Antunes, a former vice president at Crypto.com (Brazil), who is now Head of Digital Assets at Itaú Unibanco.
“We see a new generation eager to digitize their assets and investments,” Antunes said. “In our digital assets unit, we will offer solutions within the strictest PLD, compliance and security standards.”
This is the first bank in Brazil, and one of the very first in the world, to custody bitcoins on behalf of themself or customers.
How they will ensure such custody-ing is on full reserves, rather than fractional reserves, is not clear with crypto entities nowadays providing Merkel-tree based Proof of Reserves.
Whether the bank will likewise do so remains to be seen, but crypto adoption in Brazil is clearly heading to a new level.