Citigroup has quietly shelved its plans for a bank-backed cryptocurrency but remains keen to pursue the use of blockchain applications in other areas according to Citi's global head of innovation for treasury and trade solutions, Gulru Atak.

She says Citi started work on a bank-backed blockchain-based cryptocurrency, codenamed Citicoin, in 2015 but then decided to focus more on the use of new technologies in the trade finance space.

Trade finance preferred

Atak told the CoinDesk news web site that Citi concluded that rather than pursue a bank-backed cryptocurrency, there were more effective and efficient ways of harnessing blockchain technology.

Citi is particularly keen to use blockchain in areas like trade finance because, according to Atak, it provides a more realistic use case because building an ecosystem for trade finance requires the participation of far fewer banks than a cross-border cryptocurrency.

L/C focus

"Our focus is currently more in the trade space and trade finance and trade letters of credit," she told CoinDesk.

Atak said Citi was looking to use blockchain to improve cross-border payments, and is looking at effective and shorter-term ways to do this rather than embarking on a lengthy process to develop a fully-blown cryptocurrency.

"We are trying to make those changes today, rather than just putting all our efforts into future technology," she said.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.