It appears that US banking giant Citigroup is looking into crypto products, according to an insider at the bank.
In April, an initial expression of interest was expressed by the group through a report entitled ‘Bank of the Future: The ABCs of Digital Disruption in Finance’, suggesting in the report that in the future banks will need “senior leadership teams to be focused on digital transformation” for their future well-being.
Although this is rather a broad statement, a contact at the bank has reportedly come forward and suggested that things have moved on since that statement, saying that Citibank “has moved beyond thinking about crypto” and now wants to look at it terms of a consumer product.
The current debate, particularly among major Wall Street financial institutions, is whether to take a wholehearted plunge into cryptocurrency and some are now dabbling around the futures market to see how it pans out. This kind of toe-dipping is mainly driven by customer pressure, whilst the banks continue to deal with the world outside which is still driven largely by apprehension and skepticism when it comes to cryptocurrency.
Such concerns reportedly led to Citibank’s Head of Consumer Crypto Asset Innovation title removed from her LinkedIn page for just that guilt by association scenario.
Although Citigroup has not confirmed the suggestion that it is considering moving down the crypto road, it has signed up for IBM’s trial blockchain project with USD 5 trillion a day foreign exchange settlement provider CLS.
There may be a suggestion of a hint in the recent 128-page Citigroup report though. It lists use cases for smart contracts, is also pro-Ripple and suggests that Bitcoin isn’t losing steam but banks may well be under some pressure.
Wednesday’s US Treasury Department statement that cryptocurrencies are “poised to impact innovation in financial services”, may well give some credibility to Citibank’s plans if they turn out to be a credible reflection of the company’s future direction.
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