74% of firms surveyed are exploring DLT and digital assets: Citi

87% of those surveyed believe digital money, like a CBDC, could be viable before 2026


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Despite a rocky 2022, Citi believes that the last few years are “now paying off” for digital assets — though the technology is still in the early stages of maturity.

A survey found that interest and engagement in both distributed ledger technology (DLT) and digital assets have grown, despite the collapse of FTX and other crypto firms. 

More firms are exploring both DLT and digital assets, up to 74% in 2023 from 47% in 2022.

Citi noted that “billions of (US) dollars of value are now being managed on DLT, across a combined ecosystem that includes over 20 of the world’s leading financial institutions.”

Additionally, it found that it’s not the technology that firms face issues with, but actually the people and the processes putting it in place. 

When breaking down how different continents are approaching crypto, Citi found that both Asia and Latin America have focused on institutional liquidity and bringing it to the “masses,” whereas Europe has taken a regulatory approach with Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA).

In North America, “banks and investors have begun evidencing serious returns from tokenization across numerous asset classes.”

Unsurprisingly, 51% of those surveyed believe that regulatory uncertainty could impede further progress in the next three years — especially in North America and Europe. 

Specifically, the digital money sector — which includes central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) — is growing rapidly, the survey found. 87% of market participants see the sector as “viable” before 2026, an increase from 72% last year.

Read more: Russia to commence digital ruble pilot testing with 13 banks

Overall, however, the DLT landscape is growing faster than the crypto landscape due to the hurdles that crypto has faced in the last year. 

Around 87% of custodians are working on DLT and digital asset projects, but only 25% of asset owners or end clients have open and active projects. Roughly three-quarters of institutional investors are not “engaging.”

“DLT will be used not to experiment but to deliver,” the survey said.

“Above all, DLT and digital assets are about change and process re-engineering,” Citi said, which means that “it is critical that firms begin their initiatives on the assumption that significant investment in re-shaping processes and systems will be needed.”

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