Citibank Enters Crypto Space, Launches Digital Assets Unit

Mandatory Credit: Photo by SASCHA STEINBACH/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11718315m)Illustration of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (bottom-R), Ethereum (C), Ripple (R) and Cardano (L) on a monitor showing a stock barometer, Duesseldorf, Germany, 20 January 2021.

The latest behemoth to enter the crypto space amid steady institutional interest is Citigroup, which officially launched a new business unit dedicated to the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, according to a memo obtained by The Block.

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The new unit, the Digital Assets Group, will be within Citi Global Wealth Investments, its wealth management division, according to The Block.

“Given the exciting new developments we are seeing around cryptocurrencies, tokenization, and other advances powered by blockchain technology, we are pleased to announce the formation of the Digital Assets Group,” the memo said, according to The Block. The new group will be led by Alex Kriete and Greg Girasole.

Morgan Stanley was the first U.S. bank to offer bitcoin to its wealthier clients, in March.

The funds the bank will offer include two from Galaxy Digital, a crypto firm founded by Mike Novogratz, while the third is a joint effort from asset manager FS Investments and Bitcoin company NYDIG.

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“Galaxy is thrilled to partner with Morgan Stanley, the first US bank to offer Wealth Management clients access to bitcoin funds,” Novogratz tweeted at the time.

Meanwhile, NYDIG tweeted, “NYDIG is proud to partner with Morgan Stanley, the first US bank to offer access to #Bitcoin for their wealth management clients.”

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The move was quickly followed by Goldman Sachs, which officially started its crypto trading in May, with the formation of a cryptocurrency trading team and the execution of two Bitcoin-linked derivatives. And just earlier this month, the investment bank announced it had expanded into Ether, according to a spokesperson.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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