Citi Private Bank is examining how it might apply blockchain technology for the clearing and settlement processes of potential future cryptocurrency transactions.

At a roundtable discussion attended by Private Banker International, Philip Watson, Citi Private Bank’s managing director of its global investment lab and chief innovation officer, said: “One of our team members is working with the markets team on how we can go with clearing/settling [cryptocurrencies].”

Watson added the process was still in its “early stages”.

The bank does not offer cryptocurrency trading opportunities at present, but has received interest from clients.

Citi Private Bank said it is actively engaging in AI, big data and machine learning to enhance their clients’ user experience.

Watson said: “A number of clients share the view that is their children more than them focused on [blockchain/cryptocurrencies].

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“Cryptocurrencies are not homogenous. They all possess unique features such as bid/offer prices, latency [to name a few factors].”

He added that the lack of correlation between the various types of cryptocurrencies is not often realised.

He said: “If you think of the phenomenon you will find days, where one [cryptocurrency] is up and the other one is down.

“We will likely see a proliferation of coins rather than a narrowing across the industry.”

Luigi Pigorini, Citi Private Bank’s region head of Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “The overwhelming trend we see from the [cryptocurrency fad] is that clients treat it as an option with them putting a certain amount of money only in cryptocurrencies.”

The bank has seven innovation labs across the globe, with more than 300 people who identify different opportunities through innovation.

Aside from its focus on blockchain technology, Citi Private Bank said it is launching a global growth index fund where GDP will influence the value of investments. The fund is expected to be launched in the second quarter of 2018. The bank however ruled out the possibility of launching a cryptocurrency index fund.

Pigorini said the bank is also working with different companies to understand specific client interests. He said this would help the bank identify suitable topics for thought leadership.