Citi Considering Trading Bitcoin Futures

Global bank considering such products for certain clients given the strong regulatory frameworks they operate under.

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key takeaways

key takeaways

  • Citi “being very thoughtful” about its approach on crypto given the questions around regulatory frameworks and supervisory expectations
  • Potential plans to trade futures would follow similar moves by Goldman Sachs and Bank of America in recent months

Citigroup is looking into trading bitcoin futures contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) following moves by other banks to provide their clients with crypto exposure.

The global bank is considering products such as futures for some of its institutional clients given the strong regulation that such investment offerings operate under, a Citi spokesperson told Blockworks.

“Our clients are increasingly interested in this space, and we are monitoring these developments,” the representative said. “Given the many questions around regulatory frameworks, supervisory expectations, and other factors, we are being very thoughtful about our approach.”

Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions various financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services and wealth management. It has about 200 million customer accounts and operates in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. 

The company’s potential plans come several months after Goldman Sachs announced a digital assets strategy involving offering bitcoin derivatives to clients and opening a dedicated trading desk for cryptocurrency. The Wall Street giant named Galaxy Digital the liquidity provider for its bitcoin futures block trades through CME Group in June. 

Last month, Bank of America was also reportedly set to use bitcoin futures through CME Group shortly after it began research coverage of cryptocurrency and digital assets.

“I expect that traditional Wall Street will try to get creative on how to benefit from crypto without diving in head-first,” David Tawil, president of ProChain Capital, previously told Blockworks. “It’s more likely that they will be forced [rather] than take the initiative.”

Outside of trading bitcoin futures, banks have shown more willingness to enter the crypto space. In July, JPMorgan reportedly became the first large US bank to allow its financial advisors to give all its wealth management clients access to cryptocurrency funds. 

Morgan Stanley confirmed in April that it was offering certain clients — individual investors with at least $2 million or investment firms with $5 million or more — exposure to bitcoin through two external crypto funds.

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