Currency-trading giant says crypto trading, custody and financing all under consideration amid growing demand from asset managers, hedge funds.
Citigroup is considering launching cryptocurrency services following a surge in interest in digital currencies among its clients, according to a report by the Financial Times.
The report cited Citi’s global head of foreign exchange, Itay Tuchman, as saying that the bank had witnessed “very rapid” growth of interest in Bitcoin across a wide range of clients, including heavyweight asset managers. He said some had requested research from Citi, and that others were seeking to trade other digital currencies and finance deals with cryptocurrencies via the lender.
Tuchman sounded a note of caution, however, saying, “We shouldn’t do anything that’s not safe and sound. We will jump in when we are confident that we can build something that benefits clients and that regulators can support.”
In March, Citi released a 108-page report that identified “a host of risks and obstacles that stand in the way of Bitcoin progress”, but which also said the cryptocurrency “may be optimally positioned to become the preferred currency for global trade”.
A number of Citi’s peers, including Goldman Sachs, Bank of New York Mellon and State Street, have recently announced plans to engage with cryptocurrencies, but the FT noted that experts at large crypto traders remained skeptical of conventional banks’ ability to compete against specialists that had years of experience in the crypto sector.