Citi Bank Scraps Their Native Cryptocurrency Idea

By Sumedha Bose

JPMorgan’s recent announcement to launch their own cryptocurrency sure made all the headlines. However, it wasn’t the first bank who experimented with the concept of a native cryptocurrency.

Back in 2016, Citi Bank kicked off on the development of a cryptocurrency which was named Citicoin. The formal announcement for that project was never made, but a formal announcement has been made regarding the scrapping of the coin.

Citigroup has recently announced that they no longer wish to launch their cryptocurrency in the market.

Gulru Atak, head of Citi’s Innovation Lab, has said that after working on a cryptocurrency since 2015, the bank has ultimately decided that while cryptocurrencies have potential, it is not the right fit for the bank at the moment. They are looking into other ways to improve payments.

“Based on our learnings from that experiment, we actually decided to make meaningful improvements in the existing rails by leveraging the payments ecosystem, and within that ecosystem, we are considering the FinTechs as well or the regulators around the world as well, including SWIFT,” the executive said.

Citi is now looking towards a more efficient method of facilitating cross-border payments that cater to today’s needs as opposed to being a base for the future. She further added:

“If we are talking about cross-border payments, how many banks do we have across the world – and how many of them are already on-boarded on SWIFT? And how long has it taken SWIFT to onboard all those banks?” said Atak.

However, Atak makes it clear that the bank is not turning its back on blockchain. The bank intends to continue their tryst with the technology. She says:

“Our focus is currently more in the trade space and trade finance and trade letters of credit. We are experimenting with this technology, but probably we are a little bit, like, reserved when it comes to making bold public announcements,” she noted.

With the launch of the JPM Coin, it is now time to wait and observe how the fintech market moves towards a crypto based model of payments.

Sumedha Bose

Sumedha uses words as her crutch to get by in life. She takes a keen interest in debating, dancing and destroying the patriarchy in her free time. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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