Take a big step! Citigroup has set up a digital assets team to help clients bet on cryptocurrencies
Citigroup (C) is taking another big step into cryptocurrencies by assisting its wealthiest clients to bet on them. Citigroup is the latest major bank to join Wall Street giants like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley in offering crypto services. Citi on Thursday morning announced the creation of the Digital Assets Group, which will be part of the Group's newly formed wealth management unit, according to an internal memo to staff. The new team, which will be responsible for assisting clients in investing in cryptocurrencies, will be led by Alex Kriete and Greg Girasole. According to the memo, Citigroup's plan is to help clients invest in cryptocurrencies, stablesoins and non-homogeneous tokens (NFT), as well as central bank digital currencies. "As we see exciting new developments in cryptocurrencies, tokenization and other advances driven by blockchain technology, we are pleased to announce the formal formation of the Digital Assets Team," the memo noted. Iain Armitage, global head of capital markets at Citigroup Private Bank, and Rob Jasminski, head of Citigroup's global investment management unit, said in the memo: "Alex Kriete and Greg Girasole will be responsible for developing our capabilities, customer delivery mechanisms and idea leadership for future products across all digital assets. They will act as a liaison for all of citi's other corporate communities in this rapidly emerging area." Citigroup is setting up its digital assets team as investor demand for digital assets continues to rise, despite the volatile prices of major cryptocurrencies. Competitors such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have already jumped into the cryptocurrency space, and both have recently invested in blockchain or blockchain-related companies. Citigroup has been trying to grow its wealth management unit since it launched it earlier this year and appointed veteran Jim O'Donnell to lead it. More recently, Citibank has exited retail banking in Europe and parts of Asia to focus instead on building wealth management centers in those markets. The move comes just weeks after six major US banks were grilled by members of Congress about their cryptocurrency operations. Citigroup Chief Executive Jane Fraser said at the time that the bank was taking tentative steps in this area. "We are moving cautiously in this area," she said.