Citigroup is going to hire 100 new roles to task its institutional digital assets division that includes blockchain and digital currencies in a push to tap into a sector that has lately been gaining mainstream appeal.
The team will be led by Puneet Singhvi, head of blockchain at Citi’s global markets operation. Singhvi will be overseeing the bank’s venture into crypto markets and provide the corporation with a strategic plan to introduce new products along with bringing in clients and investments. Singhvi will report to Emily Turner, head of business development for the Institutional Clients Group.
Citi first launched its digital assets division in June this year. As many companies move into the sector, regulatory authorities have increased their scrutiny of digital transactions and novel business models.
The new division will be employed with internal and external hires, a Citi spokesperson told Reuters, and will be located in crypto-finance hotspots like Singapore, London, New York, and Tel Aviv. Hiring is expected to be concluded by the end of next year.
“We are focused on assessing the needs of our clients in the digital asset space,” said the spokesperson. “Prior to offering any products and services, we are studying these markets, as well as the evolving regulatory landscape and associated risks in order to meet our own regulatory frameworks and supervisory expectations.”
Besides Citi, other traditional banking service providers have also begun allocating resources to engage in the nascent market. Bank of America began its research coverage on digital currencies this year while Goldman Sachs launched a team for trading in crypto.
Asia-based DBS Group is venturing further into digital currencies and JPMorgan Chase is now giving wealth management clients access to cryptocurrency funds.
In “one to three years, every large bank and, or securities firm is going to actively think about ‘shouldn’t I also be trading and selling cryptocurrency assets?’” former Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit said at the Singapore Fintech Festival.
Pandit is looking at a future where central banks adopt digital currencies and move away from the “cumbersome” paper-based banking system. El Salvador is heeding that advice as it became the first in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender in September.
The central American country also has plans to issue $1 billion in bitcoin-backed 10-year bonds in 2022, and establish an investment-friendly “Bitcoin City.”
Cryptocurrency markets are decentralized entities run across a network of computers. They are not issued or backed by a central authority such as a government. The digital currencies are traded on exchanges and stored in wallets.
Crypto trading is speculating on digital currency price movements through a “contract for difference” (CFD) derivative trading account. An individual can also buy and sell the underlying coins via an exchange.