Investment banking giant Citigroup will pilot a new service allowing institutional clients to transfer tokenized deposits instantly anywhere in the world, expanding its push into digital asset solutions, the company announced Monday.
According to a press release, Citi Token Services will use a private blockchain and smart contracts to turn customer funds into digital tokens that can be sent across borders quickly, and provide access to liquidity and automated trade finance solutions on a 24/7 basis. The blockchain is owned and managed by Citi, meaning that institutional clients will not have to host nodes to access the token services.
Citi says that the new product is aimed at “upgrading core cash management and trade finance capabilities,” and has already shown itself to be useful in those areas.
“Digital asset technologies have the potential to upgrade the regulated financial system by applying new technologies to existing legal instruments and well-established regulatory frameworks,” said Shahmir Khaliq, global head of services at Citigroup. The program falls under the Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions division, which has developed blockchain payment solutions for institutional customers, including Alibaba.
The latest service pushes Citigroup further into the crypto space, despite an ongoing bear market that has largely chilled the market. In a report published earlier this year, Citigroup said that the crypto industry is “approaching an inflection point” that would soon see “billions of users and trillions of dollars in value.” According to Citigroup, this shift will likely be powered by “the adoption of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) by large central banks as well as tokenized assets in gaming and blockchain-based payments on social media.”