Citigroup may have cracked the cryptocurrency code.
The New York-based bank has come up with the most direct way to invest in cryptocurrency without actually having it, according to people who know the plan. This structure will place the cryptocurrency in the existing regulatory regime and give large Wall Street investors such as asset managers and hedge funds how to invest less risk in new asset classes.
Citi has developed an instrument called acceptance of digital assets. This works like the receipt of an American deposit, which has been around for decades to give US investors a way to have foreign stocks that do not trade on US exchanges. Foreign stock is held by the bank, which then issues the receipt of the deposit.
In this case, the cryptocurrency will be held by a guard, with what is called DAR issued by Citigroup, people say. The bank will remind Depository Trust & Clearing Corp, a Wall Street broker who provides clearing and settlement services, that he issues a receipt, one of the people said. That gives an important layer of legitimacy and gives investors ways to track investments in systems they already know, the person added.
This project is a collaboration between the bank’s capital market origination team and the deposit recipient service team, said the people.
It is unclear what stage of development Citi is doing with the project and when the project will be launched, but the bank has begun to reach potential partners. A Citigroup spokesman declined to comment on the bank’s plan.
Citigroup is one of the largest ADR issuers in the world. The bank began issuing storage receipts in 1928 and has won many awards for its offerings, according to its website.
Wall Street has stepped cautiously with the growing cryptocurrency market, which is vulnerable to wild price changes, repetition of exchanges and purses, and stigma that allows criminal behavior.
As a result, Citi has refrained from previous efforts to participate in the crypto currency market. Unlike companies such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, Citi does not immediately delete bitcoin futures trading for its clients, and it still has a lower profile than some of its colleagues. It also prohibits clients from making cryptocurrency-related purchases with their credit cards.
But it has hired in this sector. The bank is looking for senior vice presidents and vice presidents to explore the risks associated with money laundering in bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and other new payment technologies, according to LinkedIn job advertisements posted earlier this year. Bitcoin is often associated with activities such as money laundering.