Sead Fadilpašić

29 Jul 2022

Banco Santander S.A., the Brazilian subsidiary of the Spanish Santander Group, plans to start offering crypto trading, possibly already this year.

The bank plans to start offering crypto-related services to its Brazilian customers “in the coming months,” reported Folha de S. Paulo, citing the CEO of Santander Brazil Mario Leão.

The CEO is quoted as saying that the bank expects to have “definitions about it” in the next few months, during the next quarterly results release or “even before,” adding:

“We recognize that it is a market that is here to stay, and it is not necessarily a reaction to competitors positioning themselves, it is simply a view that our client has demanded this type of assets, so we have to find the most correct and more educational way of doing so.”

The Latin American banking giant Itaú announced the launch of its own asset tokenization platform, Itaú Digital Assets, on July 14, while last May, XP and Nubank had announced their crypto offerings as well, noted the report.

Also, as reported in May, Nubank had said it was set to invest 1% of its portfolio in bitcoin (BTC), and that it would begin rolling out functions that allow its app users to buy, sell, and hold BTC and ethereum (ETH).

And that’s not all, as crypto has been spreading throughout the region for a while now. For example, as reported in January this year, Argentine-headquartered e-commerce giant Mercado Libre invested in Mercado Bitcoin and Paxos (PAX) as it aims to boost its presence in the cryptosphere, as well as digital asset development and adoption in Latin America.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Banco Santander Brasil SA “beat second-quarter net income market expectations,” Reuters reported, as its net profit rose 2% from the previous quarter to BRL 4.08bn (USD 787m).

That said, loan-loss provisions – an indicator of how much cash the bank has set aside to cover loans that are unlikely to be fully repaid – rose against the “challenging” macroeconomic backdrop and hit BRL 5.75bn (USD 1.1bn), up 24.6% on the quarter.