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Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and insider stories by TNW.

Citibank ditches plans for its own cryptocurrency, bets on SWIFT instead

But it's not giving up on blockchain

citibank, blockchain, cryptocurrency, swift, bitcoin, jpmorgan, digital assets, coins, stablecoin

One of the world’s top 20 banks by asset value, is ditching plans to create its own digital asset – and abandoning all of its cryptocurrency experiments. Instead, it’s betting on a SWIFT.

Citibank is not following in the footsteps of JP Morgan with the creation of its own cryptocurrency, believing there are better ways of making improvements to existing financial transaction systems, CoinDesk reports.

“Based on our learnings from that experiment we actually decided to make meaningful improvements in the existing rails,” said Citibank global head of innovations for treasury and trade solutions, Gulru Atak. “We are considering the fintechs as well or the regulators around the world as well, including SWIFT.”

The bank has been trying to get its blockchain-based “Citicoin” off the ground for some time. Rumors first surfaced about it all the way back in 2015. At that point, the then head of innovation at Citi, Ken Moore, told IB Times that the bank had already been looking at distributed ledger technologies for “the last few years.”

It seems that Citibank decided to take a step back from cryptocurrencies to focus on short-term gains.

Building a blockchain-based cross-border payment system is one thing, but all the world’s banks would then need putting on that system. Payment system SWIFT already has nearly 10,000 financial institutions worldwide on board, any beneficial new technologies can be swiftly rolled out globally and start making a difference.

The bank is still looking at blockchain technology to improve its banking systems though, just its near-term future is now less likely to feature any form of cryptocurrency or digital coin.

Earlier this year, JP Morgan announced “JPM Coin,” its own take on a cryptocurrency, used specifically for cross-border institutional settlements. The news grabbed headlines, but in reality, due to how centralized it is, it’s disingenuous to even call it a cryptocurrency.

While cryptocurrency technology is still alluring to some banks, not all are certain about its future in the sector.

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Published March 18, 2019 — 15:15 UTC