Citibank (Citi) has announced enhancements to its services for institutional clients through the implementation of blockchain technology.
The financial institution unveiled Citi Token Services, enabling the tokenization of client deposits for instant global transfers.
Ryan Rugg, Global Head of Digital Assets for Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions business, explained, “[If] you’re a large multinational client where you have multiple bank accounts in multiple different regions across borders and you keep buffers of cash in each of these regions, it’s really an inefficient use of cash. With the new service, if it’s … 5:00 p.m. in the U.S. and 5:00 a.m. in Singapore, but you need to get money there, you can send that immediately, within seconds.”
Citi is also leveraging smart contracts for automated trade processes, significantly reducing transaction processing times.
This capability was tested in collaboration with Maersk, where pre-funded smart contracts with digitized tokens were used to automate payments upon the completion of agreed-upon services. This advancement could shorten transaction processing times from days to minutes.
While the cryptocurrency market has faced regulatory uncertainty and relatively stable prices this year, the focus on tokenizing real-world assets using blockchain technology has gained substantial attention. Citi’s move aligns with the growing trend of financial institutions exploring blockchain technology to modernize financial markets, with predictions of approximately $5 trillion in real-world financial assets being tokenized on blockchains over the next five years.
Citi’s use of a private blockchain for these services reflects its cautious approach pending regulatory developments, although they remain open to public blockchain options if regulations evolve favorably.