Citigroup Chief Executive Michael Corbat said his bank is helping governments “around the world” in creating sovereign digital currencies, otherwise known as central bank digital currencies, or CBDC.
Speaking to David Rubenstein at a Friday Bloomberg event Corbat made clear that CBDC is an “inevitable” development in the future of money. Citigroup, the multinational banking giant, is helping bring that future about.
“We’ve been working with governments around the world in terms of the creation and commercialization of [sovereign digital currencies],” he said.
Corbat did not disclose who Citigroup’s government partners are. Citigroup’s press office did not immediately return a request for comment on the extent of the partnerships.
Cryptocurrencies will have a role to play even the age of CBDCs, Corbat said Friday. He stopped short of commenting on bitcoin specifically. But he said that “some of these currencies will be continued alternatives, continued different sources of payment that people can take advantage of based on the underlying nature of what they are” – a seeming reference to stablecoins.
The Friday disclosure reveals Citigroup as the latest private sector company active in developing public sector digital currencies. Financial services firms Mastercard and Visa have both launched CBDC initiatives in the past year.
Three years ago, Corbat predicted that CBDCs would arise as a direct response to the threat posed by bitcoin. His bank has been researching digital currencies since at least 2014.
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