Citigroup has launched the pilot of its Citi Token Services, a new platform aimed at bolstering cash management and trade finance mechanisms. The company announced in a press release that the service leverages blockchain and smart contract technologies to provide innovative digital asset solutions for institutional clients.

Citi Token Services will integrate tokenized deposits and smart contracts into Citi’s global network in an endeavor to upgrade its core cash management and trade finance capabilities. The services are designed to meet the need for ‘always-on’ programmable financial services and will provide cross-border payments, liquidity, and automated trade finance solutions around the clock.

Broader adoption anticipated

The development of Citi Token Services is in line with Citigroup’s stated belief that more than a billion people will be using blockchain technology, likely without knowing it, in the next six to eight years. Citigroup had predicted that this mass adoption would be driven by central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and tokenization.

Citi has been actively testing its token services with global trade leader Maersk and a canal authority to digitize services similar to bank guarantees and letters of credit within the trade finance ecosystem. This involved the programmable transfer of tokenized deposits, offering immediate payments to service providers via smart contracts. Marie-Laure Martin, Regional Treasury Manager for the Americas at Maersk, commented on the successful test pilots, stating, “The innovative solution has promising applications for trade finance.”

The technology piloted is expected to provide a fully digital process to both buyers and sellers, facilitating instant payments and potentially reducing transaction processing times from days down to mere minutes.

Furthermore, the newly launched Citi Token Services has been integrated into a global cash management pilot aimed at enabling clients to transfer liquidity between various Citi branches on a 24/7 basis. Ryan Rugg, Global Head of Digital Assets at Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions, emphasized that Citi Token Services could offer corporate treasurers a new tool for managing global liquidity on a programmable basis.

The blockchain technology used in the service is private and permissioned, meaning that it is owned and managed by Citi. As a result, clients will not be required to host a blockchain node to access these services. Citigroup’s continued development in digital asset solutions aligns with its ambitions to enhance products and services across digital money, trade, securities, custody, asset servicing, and collateral mobility.