UnionBank is known as the seventh-largest bank in the Philippines.
In the last week, they decided to run Bitcoin miners at a local conference, which was not exactly well received with the local finance industry. In fact, there are presently images that were uploaded to social media, which feature the CEO of UnionBank (Edwin Bautista) using four GPU minors at their booth. These images were uploaded when Bautista and his team were at the 2018 BusinessWorld Economic Forum by Miguel Cuneta onto his personal Twitter page.
— Miguel Cuneta (@MiguelCuneta) May 18, 2018
Cuneta says that UnionBank had their out setup with a “small mining rig to experiment and explore how it works.” In the comments on the social media post, he also said that their goal is to use the experience to learn more information.
During the forum, Bautista spent his time delivering a presentation that featured details about Bitcoin mining, blockchain, and “bitcoin experiments” that highlighted the importance of mining. The simple act of mining bitcoin at all is one of the most recent digital pivots that UnionBank has established, which is a direction that the company has decided earlier this year.
Though his original focus was blockchain, Bautista has been a major overseer of the first blockchain-based payment system in the Philippines that helps businesses. The system is called Visa B2B Connect, and Bautista has been working with it since January 2018. When this change was taking place, Bautista appeared to have a much more positive outlook on blockchain than cryptocurrency. This implies that the reputation of cryptocurrency could have had a bad impact on the way Bautista originally saw blockchain as a whole.
In a statement to ABS CBN, Bautista said, “The blockchain technology is one of those technologies that are predicted to really alter the face of banking. A lot of people will still associate blockchain with bitcoin, and because of that you have that negative impression of blockchain, but blockchain and crypto are two different things. One is just simply riding on the other.”
Since those statements, he seems to have softened his perspective, which has helped UnionBank to become a major part of participation in blockchain that has fallen behind other institutions. The only real exception is in Switzerland, since their banks have consistently been involved with Bitcoin-based products for the last two years. In fact, it is that inclusion that has made it such a positive place for cryptocurrency to thrive.