Brazil’s Itaú to Debut Tokenization Platform

The largest private bank in Brazil, Itaú Unibanco, has announced plans to roll out a new asset tokenization platform, which will turn regular finance products into tokens.

Called Itaú Digital Assets, it will also offer crypto custody services for customers, CoinDesk wrote Thursday (July 14). Per the report, Vanessa Fernandez, a senior executive who has experience with compliance, internal controls and technology with Itaú, will become the head of the new Digital Assets platform.

The company also recently said it might offer crypto trading services for retail customers at some point, but did not provide additional details. The report noted that Digital Assets will first be available for institutional clients, and a retail version will be available later this year.

Itaú was also one of the nine partners chosen by the Central Bank of Brazil to help create a new digital real, the central bank digital currency (CBDC) for the country. Itaú reportedly had $4.5 billion in revenue last year, and its closest competitor is private bank Bradesco, which had $4 billion in revenue.

PYMNTS wrote that Brazil’s banking scene has been undergoing changes to adapt to the digitization of the world, with the five biggest banks in the country — Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Caixa Economica Federal, Itaú and Santander Bank — all doing things to help keep up with emerging, younger digital companies.

Read more: Brazil Imposes Stricter FinTech Rules

As that’s been going on, the Central Bank of Brazil has also been putting out stricter regulations for FinTech firms. PYMNTS’ report noted that the rules will be based on the size and complexity of the companies, and tere will also be tougher standards for required capital.

The rules will take effect in January 2023 and will be fully implemented by January 2025, and will likely have an impact on companies like Nubank and payment firm PagSeguro.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: HOW UTILITIES AND CONSUMER FINANCE COMPANIES CAN ENHANCE THE BILL PAYMENTS EXPERIENCE

About: More than half of utilities and consumer finance companies have the capability to process all monthly bill payments digitally. The kicker? Just 12% of them do. The Digital Payments Edge, a PYMNTS and ACI Worldwide collaboration, surveyed 207 billing and collections professionals at these companies to learn why going totally digital remains elusive.

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