In the wake of the rise of bitcoin, an anonymous digital cryptocurrency whose value can not be manipulated by the whims of government-chartered central bankers, many prominent businesses have begun to incrementally incorporate digital currency technology into their business models. According to International Business Times, Citibank is interested in the new craze and is now developing and testing its own cryptocurrency.
Ken Moore, chief of the banking giant’s technological development subsidiary Citi Innovation Labs said earlier this month, “We have up and running three separate systems within Citi now that actually deploy blockchain distributed ledger technologies. They are all within the labs just now so there is no real money passing through these systems yet, they are at a pre-production level to be clear… We also have an equivalent to bitcoin up and running, again within the labs, so we can mine what we call a ‘Citicoin’, for want of a better term. It’s in the labs, but it’s to make sure we are at the leading edge of this technology and that we can exploit the opportunities within it.”
TechCrunch points out the fact that Bitcoin Magazine cited a Dec 2014 presentation by Citigroup wherein company representatives said, “Due to the potential benefits, we believe the adoption of Digital Money is inevitable. While we believe that the use of Digital Money is certain, the future of specific cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin is less clear.”
Citi Innovation Labs’ Ken Moore said that the fast-paced, international nature of digital currencies, which can cross borders without facing time-consuming regulatory hurdles, is attractive to Citibank, “Because we are a global network, a global bank, we can look for opportunities to use this technology to move money from country to country – country A to country B, across our network.”
Additionally, Citibank officials told International Business Times that cryptocurrencies can benefit banks by helping them transact with people from developing countries who lack bank accounts. “You don’t need a bank account. It goes straight into the mobile phone, it goes into a wallet,” said Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, managing director of Citibank’s Payments and Receivables EMEA.