The report, citing two sources including one within the bank, says that Citi is angling to trade bitcoin futures contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
A source familiar with the situation told CoinDesk that Citi's trading operation could begin with bitcoin futures before moving on to other products like bitcoin exchange-traded notes. The bank is currently awaiting key regulatory approvals for a crypto trading desk based in London, according to CoinDesk.
But Citi denied parts of the report, saying claims that it was starting a crypto-focused team in London or looking into ETNs were inaccurate.
"We are presently considering products such as futures for some of our institutional clients, as these operate under strong regulatory frameworks," a Citi spokesperson told Insider in a statement. "Given the many questions around regulatory frameworks, supervisory expectations, and other factors, we are being very thoughtful about our approach."
In May, Goldman Sachs began offering certain clients access to a bitcoin via a derivative called non-deliverable forwards, according to Bloomberg Law. NDFs let holders bet on bitcoin's short-term price direction while getting paid in cash, rather than bitcoin. Goldman hedges the bet by buying or selling bitcoin futures on the CME.
"The firm is not in a position to trade bitcoin, or any cryptocurrency (including ethereum) on a physical basis," Goldman's crypto trading head said in a memo obtained by CNBC.
Citi had previously offered clients access to ethereum ETNs but backed away after the 2017 "crypto winter" price crash.
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