JP Morgan made waves in both the blockchain space and the traditional financial world when they announced that they’d soon roll out their own cryptocurrency. Citibank had been rumored to be working on a similar project dubbed ‘Citicoin’, but now they are calling off any cryptocurrency plans.
Blockchain has been championed as a solution to the high fees and slow nature of cross border payments. Many institutions have signed on to begin using Ripple as a way to solve these issues, but it seems Citi is not quite ready to believe in the technology.
International companies like Mercury FX have already begun to make the move to implement blockchain processes. They have laid out the blueprints for institutions to use Ripple and XRP to expedite transfers and lower costs for users. But Citi will not make this jump right now.
According to Citi’s head of innovation, Gulru Atak, the bank will move forward with plans to improve efficiency in other ways. She acknowledged blockchain’s possible future contributions but thinks there are faster ways to improve these processes. Atak told Coindesk that Citi would consider several new answers.
“Based on our learnings from that experiment we actually decided to make meaningful improvements in the existing rails by leveraging the payments ecosystem and within that ecosystem, we are considering the fintech as well or the regulators around the world as well, including SWIFT.”
Citi’s new plans center around fixing problems that they think blockchain is not ready for.
“We are trying to make those changes today, rather than just putting all our efforts into future technology,” Atak said.
When it comes to blockchain and cryptocurrency these huge financial institutions seem to talk out of both sides of their mouth. JP Morgan executives bashed Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies only to adopt the technology later. Now while Citi is backing off, they also admit to continuing to look into blockchain solutions ‘like (Ripple/XRP)’.
Atak warned that many businesses are trying to force the integration of blockchain because it’s a hot topic right now. But she admitted that Citi is still exploring blockchain and all of its applications so we may yet see a Citicoin down the road.