Global financial services firm Citi has unveiled a new digital service called Citi Token Services. This service is set to leverage blockchain technology to bring new digital asset solutions to its institutional clients.
This service aims to streamline transactions by converting clients’ deposits into digital tokens, which can be utilized for instant cross-border payments, enhancing liquidity, and facilitating automated trade finance solutions around the clock. The Citi Token Services offering employs blockchain and smart contract technology to enable rapid international money transfers for its big money clients. This system operates on a private blockchain instead of public ones utilized by Bitcoin or Ethereum.
Testing and Implementation
Citi has already tested the new service to evaluate its efficiency and effectiveness. Notable participants in the test included shipping giant Maersk and a canal authority. According to the bank, using smart contracts, the digital process in the pilot service reduced transaction times from days to minutes. This approach has potential similarities to conventional bank guarantees and letters of credit usually observed in the trade finance sector.
Shahmir Khaliq, Citi’s global head of services, explained the ambition behind the project. “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,” he said. “The development of Citi Token Services is part of our journey to deliver real-time, always-on, next-generation transaction banking services to our institutional clients.”
Furthermore, the token service has undergone global cash management trials, aiming to allow clients to transfer liquidity seamlessly between Citi’s various branches at any time. “Frictions related to cutoff times and gaps in the service window will be reduced,” remarked Ryan Rugg, global head of digital assets within Citi’s treasury and trade solutions division. The technology behind this service is exclusively owned and managed by Citi, meaning clients will not be required to host a blockchain node to access these services.
Integrating Into the Broader Network
Citi Token Services is not an isolated endeavour. It marks an essential step in Citi’s broader initiative to integrate tokenized deposits into its extensive global network, thus enhancing its core cash management and trade finance capabilities. Khaliq emphasized that this development is aligned with Citi’s efforts to establish interoperable digital asset solutions that could be adopted by multiple banks, fostering a more connected and efficient banking ecosystem.
Banking on Web3
In January, we highlighted the growing interest from major banks in adopting Web3 strategies.
Notably, several of the most prominent banks globally made substantial investments in companies specializing in blockchain technology. This group of investors includes industry leaders such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, BNY Mellon, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Citigroup, all participating significantly in funding rounds.
HSBC has ventured into the realm of the Sandbox Metaverse by purchasing a portion of LAND, marking a notable development in the Web3 sphere. Given its stature as a prominent global financial entity, HSBC’s involvement not only endorses the potential of Web3 but also reflects the bank’s recognition of the opportunities it presents for its operations.
In parallel, J.P. Morgan has established a presence in Decentraland, a competitor to The Sandbox’s metaverse. In a move that illustrates the firm’s embrace of virtual spaces, they inaugurated a digital lounge within a shopping centre in the metaverse.
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