One of the areas I frequently point to when discussing crypto adoption in Brazil and Latin America is that the country’s largest banks are among the most advanced in the world with regards to their digital asset strategies and deployment.
To explore this further, Guto Antunes, head of digital assets at Itaú joined the show to talk about how Brazil’s largest bank is implementing an ambitious crypto and blockchain agenda in 2024.
Here are some key takeaways from this conversation:
Itaú is taking an aggressive four-pronged approach to digital assets across tokenization, custody services, distribution, and participation in the Drex CBDC project.
The bank aims to meet the needs of a new generation of digital asset users through intuitive and safe products and services.
Itaú’s digital assets division has grown to 60-70 employees working closely with teams across the bank.
Antunes is bullish that tokenization will help open capital markets to more middle-market players in Brazil through fractionalized ownership.
Itaú’s decades worth of governance and security experience on the custody front gives retail crypto buyers and institutional investors.
The ion brokerage app allows clients to easily buy and custody crypto assets within a simplified bank-grade interface.
Itaú is testing use cases and scaling/privacy considerations in the Drex CBDC pilot program.
How partnerships with specialized fintechs like Liqi (which is providing the underlying crypto-as-a-service solution for ion) allow bi-directional knowledge sharing between banks and emerging crypto/blockchain players.
Itaú takes guidance from regulators but remains proactive in rolling out digital asset products and gathering data for regulators based on initial client usage and feedback.
The expected 2024 full launch of new crypto regulations and licenses will likely spur significant adoption among Brazilian banks and institutions.
This conversation provides a great perspective on how Brazil's largest bank is approaching digital assets from both a strategic and technical perspective.
I really enjoyed this conversation with Guto and I hope you do as well. You can connect with him on Linkedin.
Have a great week everyone,