Citi Reportedly The Latest Bank To Consider Crypto After Soaring Client Interest
Itay Tuchman, Citi’s global head of foreign exchange, told the FT the bank had not yet decided whether to offer clients cryptocurrency services but said a boom in interest across its client base prompted the bank to consider its options.
Trading, custody and financing are all services the bank is considering offering, Tuchman told the FT.
Other major financial institutions have also moved into crypto markets this year—including JPMorgan, BNY Mellon, Morgan Stanley and BlackRock—though Tuchman said he does not have any “FOMO,” short for “fear of missing out.”
Tuchman said the bank “will jump in” when it is confident in its ability to build something regulators can get behind and will benefit its clients.
Elaborating on Citi’s decision not to rush into the crypto space despite clear client demand and moves from competitors, Tuchman said the ecosystem is new enough to accommodate multiple players. “This isn’t a space race,” he said, adding: “There is room for more than just one flag.”
There has been a major shift in sentiment towards digital assets over the past year, with many major institutions jumping on board after years of resisting. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, a longtime crypto critic, said earlier this month he is no supporter of digital currencies but recognizes that many of the bank’s clients want to get involved. Many major currencies have soared this year, with bitcoin, ethereum and meme-based dogecoin all reaching new highs in 2021.
What To Watch For
In a report published in March, Citi said bitcoin could be about to go mainstream and might be on the path to become “the currency of choice for international trade.” Bitcoin is the “North Star” of the crypto ecosystem, it said, making it the currency to watch for whether crypto as a whole goes mainstream. Earlier this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said it is on the “verge of getting broad acceptance” by conventional finance people. Musk himself drives a lot of interest in cryptocurrencies, notably dogecoin.
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