UBX, the newly launched financial technology (fintech) platform of UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc., is eyeing to launch stablecoins.

“We have BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) approval to launch stablecoin,” UnionBank President and Chief Executive Officer Edwin R. Bautista told reporters on Monday at the launch of UBX.

“We will eventually link i2i Philippines to similar clearing systems in other countries. All you have to do is to move tokens across the different platforms,” Mr. Bautista added.

A stablecoin is a cryptocurrency that can be pegged to assets like currency or commodities such as metals. It is global but not backed by a central bank. However, it has minimal volatility compared to other cryptocurrencies.

Meanwhile, i2i is the UnionBank’s clearing system which connects rural banks through blockchain technology. i2i means island-to-island, institution-to-institution and individual-to-individual.

“We’re already BSP-approved for the stablecoin so it’s really at this point a matter of development work and testing,” UBX President and CEO John Januszczak said.

According to Mr. Januszczak, the product aims to serve rural banks — the firm’s main market — but it is also looking to expand to other sectors, such as healthcare and real estate.

Mr. Januszczak noted that the central bank’s fintech regulations are not as strict compared to its oversight of banks.

“We are very interested in other ecosystems. For example, real estate and healthcare… We continue to explore other ecosystems where we feel there’s an opportunity to embed financial services, make banking invisible and connect more people together,” he said.

UnionBank has earmarked P500 million annually to fund UBX’s operations.

Currently, 100 rural banks in the country already onboard the UBX platform. The company hopes to increase this number, noting that there are around 400 rural banks nationwide.

UnionBank shares closed at P61 apiece on Monday, up by P1.40 or 2.35%. — R.J.N. Ignacio