Citibank creates special unit to offer bitcoin and cryptocurrency services

  • Although no details were given yet, NFTs, stablecoins and CBDC would also be included.
  • Bank executives say there is increasing interest from customers

Citibank announced that it will launch a cryptocurrency and digital asset service for some of its clients. It will be called the Digital Assets Group and will operate under the Wealth Management Division.

This new service will include, in addition to the main cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFT), stablecoins and central bank digital currencies (CBDC). The criteria for choosing the customers who can access this service have not yet been reported.

According to an internal statement released by The Block and signed by Iain Armitage and Rob Jasminski, two directors of the entity in its market and investment divisions, the new unit will focus “on all aspects of the blockchain finance space, which is growing very fast.”

The directors in charge will be Alex Kriete and Greg Girasole. They will be “responsible for promoting Citi Global Wealth Investments’ efforts to become a leading market partner for our clients interested in the digital asset space,” the statement explains.

Citibank had already announced its interest in cryptocurrencies

At the beginning of May 2021, the media had already reported that Citibank was already studying the possibility of offering services related to crypto assets. According to Itay Tuchman, the entity’s global director of foreign trade, this was mainly due to “customer requests”.

On the other hand, the company that owns the bank, Citigroup, published an analysis of its experts in March detailing six challenges that bitcoin (BTC) must overcome to reach mass adoption. In this sense, they highlight the “inefficiency” of capital, lack of “protection” because it is not issued by a government and the “latent insecurity” in this market, among other points.

Exodus of Bitcoin miners grows amid repression in China

Chinese Bitcoin (BTC) miners are moving their operations to other countries since China stepped up its crackdown on the industry. Among them is the ASIC equipment manufacturer Canaan, which has made the decision to diversify, and therefore now is mining the cryptocurrency in Kazakhstan, where it moved part of its operations.

Canaan announced in a statement that a fleet of its equipment is already operating in Kazakhstan, which has abundant energy sources. In fact, in 2018 the Central Asian country was ranked as the ninth largest producer of coal in the world. The nation is also a major producer of other fossil fuels like natural gas.

The country to the north of China is attracting miners who have been forced to emigrate. They find Kazakhstan attractive because it produces more than twice its energy demand, allowing it to offer cheap electricity to mining farms that are looking for a place to settle.

Kazakhstan not only hosts a new Canaan data center, but the company BIT Mining, owner of the important mining pool, announced that it has already mobilized part of its equipment to the transcontinental country, as reported by other media.

Today, when Chinese mining companies are looking for new alternatives, Canaan sees their diversification as a “logical step” in the company’s development. Not only to manufacture equipment, as it had been up to now, but also to produce the computing power necessary to mine bitcoins. The hash rate in the past month has dropped to 50% since recent bans on crypto mining in several provinces in China.


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