- Citi intends to hire roughly 100 people to focus on the bank's blockchain and digital asset efforts, a source told Business Insider and CoinDesk.
- The bank is appointing Puneet Singhvi to lead the digital assets team within Citi's institutional clients group, Business Insider reported Monday, citing an internal memo.
- Singhvi, formerly the head of blockchain and digital assets within the bank's global markets division, will start in the new role Dec. 1 and report to Emily Turner, the institutional clients group's head of business development.
The institutional division’s “digital asset efforts are a continuation of our work with blockchain, and are consistent with our strategy to research emerging technologies, collaborate with partners to develop solutions and implement new capabilities enabled by robust governance and controls,” Turner said in the memo, according to Bloomberg.
Citi launched its digital assets group in June to help clients invest in cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, nonfungible tokens and central bank digital currencies.
The bank plans to buoy its digital strategy by hiring "additional talent over the next several months," Turner wrote.
A mix of internal and external hires will comprise the team, which will be based in Singapore, New York, London and Tel Aviv, a Citi spokesperson told Reuters, adding that the hiring should be complete by the end of next year.
"Prior to offering any products and services, we are studying these markets, as well as the evolving regulatory landscape and associated risks, in order to meet our own regulatory frameworks and supervisory expectations," the spokesperson said.
In his new role, Singhvi will work with other senior colleagues across business lines in the institutional clients group to "pursue digital asset opportunities including new products, new clients, and new investments," Turner wrote, according to Business Insider. In his previous role, he oversaw Citi’s relationships with major financial-infrastructure providers, Bloomberg reported.
Singhvi will be succeeded in his former role by Shobhit Maini and Vasant Viswanathan, who will serve as co-heads of blockchain and digital assets on Citi’s global markets team, CoinDesk reported.
This year’s crypto push among big banks began in earnest in February, when BNY Mellon announced in February it is forming a digital assets unit to develop a multi-asset digital custody and administration platform set to roll out this year.
Goldman Sachs followed that up by announcing in March it would relaunch its crypto trading desk.
That same month, Morgan Stanley told its financial advisers it is letting its wealth-management clients access three investment funds that enable ownership of Bitcoin.
Citi's crypto push came two weeks after State Street announced it was forming a 425-employee digital unit to encompass crypto, central bank digital currencies, blockchain technology and tokenization.
Wells Fargo, meanwhile, said in May it planned to launch its cryptocurrency investment platform for qualified investors by mid-June.
And Bank of America in July created a team to research cryptocurrencies and technology related to digital currencies.
JPMorgan Chase extended banking services to crypto exchanges Coinbase and Gemini in April 2020 and filed documents this March for a debt-investment offering tied to a group of stocks with crypto exposure, according to CNBC.
The crypto push has trickled to regional banks, too. U.S. Bank launched a cryptocurrency custody service last month.
The largest banks and firms have added roughly 1,000 crypto-related jobs since 2018, Bloomberg and Revelio Labs reported.
“We believe in the potential of blockchain and digital assets including the benefits of efficiency, instant processing, fractionalization, programmability and transparency,” Turner wrote, according to Bloomberg. “Puneet and team will focus on engaging with key internal and external stakeholders including clients, startups and regulators.”