Citi unveils blockchain-based token services to revolutionize institutional finance

Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) has announced the launch of Citi Token Services, a blockchain-based platform designed to enhance cash management and trade finance for institutional clients.

The new service leverages blockchain technology and smart contracts to integrate tokenized deposits into Citi’s global network, offering a more efficient alternative to traditional bank guarantees and letters of credit.

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The pilot program, conducted in collaboration with shipping giant Maersk and an undisclosed canal authority, demonstrated the platform’s ability to facilitate instant payments to service providers. This technological advancement will slash transaction processing times from days to minutes.

Shahmir Khaliq, Global Head of Services at Citi, stated that the development of Citi Token Services aligns with the bank’s broader strategy to provide next-generation transaction banking services. “The platform is a significant step in our ongoing efforts to apply new technologies to well-established regulatory frameworks,” Khaliq said.

In addition to its applications in trade finance, Citi Token Services has also been piloted for global cash management. The service enables around-the-clock liquidity transfers between Citi branches, thereby reducing the frictions commonly associated with cut-off times and service windows. Ryan Rugg, Global Head of Digital Assets at Citi TTS, emphasized that the new service offers corporate treasurers a novel tool for managing global liquidity more efficiently.

The platform operates on a private, permissioned blockchain owned and managed by Citi, eliminating the need for clients to host a blockchain node. This approach ensures a seamless and compliant integration into existing financial systems.

The bigger picture

Citi’s latest offering comes amid a growing demand for ‘always-on’, programmable financial services from institutional clients. The bank’s initiative also complements its work on the Regulated Liability Network (RLN), a technology introduced in November 2022 that aims to create interoperable digital asset solutions across multiple banks.

Citi TTS, which holds banking licenses in over 90 countries, continues to lead the way in offering digitally enabled treasury, trade, and liquidity management solutions. The bank’s new service is in line with its commitment to innovation and its goal of enhancing its range of financial products and services, including digital money, trade, securities, custody, asset servicing, and collateral mobility.

As financial institutions increasingly adopt blockchain technology, Citi’s Token Services could set a new standard for efficiency and security in institutional finance. With its dual applications in trade finance and cash management, the platform not only meets the current demands of institutional clients but also paves the way for future innovations in the financial sector.

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