Brazil’s Largest Bank Itaú Opens Bitcoin and Crypto Trading to All Users

Itaú Unibanco, Brazil and Latin America’s biggest bank has opened Bitcoin and crypto trading to over 60 million customers, as per reports.

BREAKING: 🇧🇷 60,000,000 customers at Brazil’s largest bank can now start buying #Bitcoin and crypto.

Gradually then suddenly 🙌

— Bitcoin Magazine (@BitcoinMagazine) June 12, 2024

The bank’s investment app, Ion, now allows users to buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum after initially offering crypto trading to only select clients in December 2023.

In an interview, Itaú digital assets head Guto Antunes said the move followed weekly surveys, with initial users showing strong demand for Bitcoin and crypto services. 

While not disclosing user numbers, Antunes said the Ion app has surpassed 3.5 million downloads, which is significant interest for Bitcoin and crypto in Brazil.

The bank opted to build its custody solution for clients’ wallets rather than using third parties. Each user gets a separate wallet to ensure asset segregation.

As Brazil’s largest bank with extensive reach, opening Bitcoin access will boost mainstream adoption. With Bitcoin’s popularity in Brazil, the bank aims to be their preferred gateway into this new asset class.

The embrace of Bitcoin and crypto by a conservatively regulated institution like Itaú also further validates Bitcoin as an investable innovation that is here to stay. More banks in the region may follow suit.

For bitcoiners in Brazil, buying and selling through their existing bank provides accessibility and removes adoption hurdles. Itaú opening the floodgates marks a milestone in Bitcoin’s financial mainstreaming in a major Latin American economy.