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Big Banks Will Soon Consider Crypto, Ex-Citi CEO Says

It won’t be long before the world’s banks begin thinking about trading cryptocurrencies, the former CEO of Citigroup said at a recent FinTech event. The moment will come in the next few years, Vikram Pandit told the Singapore Fintech Festival, per Bloomberg News.

“Every large bank and/or securities firm is going to actively think about ‘shouldn’t I also be trading and selling cryptocurrency assets?’” Pandit predicted.

Signs of that shift are already on the horizon, as PYMNTS reported on Sunday (Nov. 7), with Wall Street leaders who once scorned bitcoin now seeking out crypto recruits, offering big premiums to get them on board.

Read more: Wells Fargo, JPMorgan, Goldman and Others Ramp up Crypto Staff

Big banks have added about 1,000 crypto-related positions in the last three years. That’s a marked shift from four years ago, when J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon had decried crypto as “worthless” and called it a fraud.

The shift has coincided with a broader acceptance of crypto and increased interest from clients, which has helped cool the banks’ ill feelings.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank (ECB) has begun looking into how the digital euro would appeal to users and not be overwhelmed by private types of payment. The ECB is working with the European Commission to address numerous policy, legal and design questions about the digital euro. The team is working to figure out the ramifications of the currency becoming legal throughout Europe.

The Bloomberg story also noted that Goldman Sachs has begun trading crypto futures, while the Commonwealth Bank of Australia said last week it will offer customers the ability to buy, sell and hold crypto assets.

Pandit, co-founder of the investment firm Oregon Group, has invested in crypto firms including Coinbase Inc. and Alchemy Insights Inc.

“My big hope is that central banks around the world understand the benefit of a central bank digital currency, and move on to accept and adopt them,” Pandit said. Moving money around the globe while also trying to update paper-based banking is “cumbersome” and leads to a lot of “dead-weight” costs, he added.

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