Citibank is considering launching a cryptocurrency custody service.
This is what Citi's global currency director Itay Tuchman told the Financial Times.
Tuchman said that the bank is experiencing very rapid growth in bitcoin interest from large customers, since August of last year, and that the bank is considering how to "provide the best service to customers."
However, he also specified that they are in no rush to launch cryptocurrency-based services, and that the bank will only step in when it is sure it can do something really useful for its clients and fully regulated.
Tuchman, in fact, stated:
"I have no FOMO because I believe that cryptocurrencies are here to stay and that we are at the beginning of the market."
Citi has been closely watching the market for cryptocurrencies, and bitcoin in particular, for some time now, probably due to growing interest from its customers. The goal seems to be do business with services related to cryptocurrencies, instead of direct investments or speculations with the currencies.
Citibank is one of the oldest financial institutions in the United States, having been founded in 1812 in New York. It is now the consumer financial services division of the multinational Citigroup, with 2,649 branches in 19 countries.
Why Citibank Could Offer Cryptocurrency Custody Services
The fact is that the bank's wealthiest clients are unlikely to agree to trade directly in the cryptocurrency markets. This would involve two major issues: taking full responsibility for direct custody of large sums of cryptocurrencies, and not always operating completely within regulatory limits.
Also, if they operated directly, the commissions from the exchanges would be charged by the exchanges, not the bank.
So while the bank may be interested in providing cryptocurrency-related services to collect fees that would otherwise go to exchanges, wealthier clients may appreciate an external escrow service, perhaps provided by the same bank that already has your assets in fiat currency.
As the interest of these types of clients in cryptocurrencies grows, it is difficult to imagine that the bank will continue to ignore it. In fact, even such an old institution, for the United States, is inevitably starting to take an interest in this market, and it probably won't be long before it starts offering cryptocurrency services, as other similar institutions are already doing.