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Citigroup CEO: 'Very tangible benefits' come from digital currencies

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In a new interview with Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer, Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser outlined the benefits that digital currencies bring — including transparency and instant processing.

Video Transcript

ANDY SERWER: Shifting gears a little bit, Jane, I want to ask you about another huge topic. And that is crypto--

JANE FRASER: Yes.

ANDY SERWER: --and decentralized finance. And I guess, I want to, you know, [INAUDIBLE] if I can ask you sort of the big strategic question-- how do you view this nascent incipient world that is, obviously, affecting your bank and your business? And how do you plan and move forward?

JANE FRASER: A topic we spend a lot of time discussing with many of our partners and clients as well. So I think you start off with the premise it's clear that digital assets will be part of the financial services and financial markets, the future of them. We already see clients very active in the space. Real-time payments, both growth in the sense of they're frictionless, they'll become more global, they'll become ubiquitous. Real-time payments will be here in the near-term.

And digital currencies may be part of that future. We see benefits from the digital asset space-- instant processing, fractionalization, programmability, and transparency. You know, very geeky words for a geek like me-- I love them. But those are very tangible benefits that come from it. I would say we're proceeding thoughtfully and with appropriate caution here. Why is that?

There's still a lot of questions about how the space evolves around regulatory clarity, around some of the scalability, around resiliency, certainly around some transparency, and making sure that there are the appropriate guardrails in the system, particularly for our retail clients. We don't want them participating in areas that they're not necessarily as well equipped to understand the risks of.

So, for me, as a CEO, I'm working to connect our clients to wallets. We're enabling our businesses and our corporate clients to accept consumer payments. We're building the infrastructure for retail real-time payments, but we're doing so cautiously because the space is moving so quickly. And not all the guardrails that you would like to see are yet in place. And, you know, as a banking CEO, I do believe guardrails are important and necessary for the safety and soundness of the financial system. And so, I like them there for resiliency.