- The former Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit has said that all banks will start looking at cryptocurrency trading as prices soar.
- Vikram himself is an investor in cryptocurrency firms, including being one of the earliest backers of Coinbase exchange back in 2015.
One of the world’s most renowned bankers and investors believes that cryptocurrencies are a “when” not an “if” for banks. Vikram Pandit, the former Citigroup CEO and a Wall Street veteran said at a recent event that all banks will soon be thinking about trading cryptocurrencies.
Vikram, a Columbia Business School Ph.D. graduate, worked for two decades at top-level management at Morgan Stanley. He later moved to Citigroup in 2007 where he became CEO shortly after. His spell at Citigroup coincided with the 2008 financial crisis, and he was charged with leading one of America’s largest banks out of its darkest periods. And he did. Vikram pledged to take $1 in annual salary until the bank became profitable once again.
And now, he believes that all banks are heading into cryptocurrencies. While speaking at the Singapore Fintech Festival, he stated:
In one to three years, every large bank and, or securities firm is going to actively think about ‘shouldn’t I also be trading and selling cryptocurrency assets?’
His sentiments come at a time when banks are warming up to cryptocurrencies. As CNF reported, banks in Wall Street and other financial centers like London are offering huge salaries to blockchain experts. Their leadership is also scrambling to catch up and keeping cryptocurrency industry leaders close.
Investing when Bitcoin was just $200
Vikram, who now heads private equity firm Orogen Group, also talked about central bank digital currencies. He believes their impact on the future of finance is understated.
My big hope is that central banks around the world understand the benefit of a central bank digital currency, and move on to accept, adopt them.
In the near future, he foresees a CBDC “that’s is available to you and me, and every other retail participant around the world.”
While some banking leaders are only now starting to warm up to cryptocurrencies, Vikram has been beating this drum for a while. As far back as 2014, he was praising the potential of virtual currencies, stating, “The reason I like the concept of virtual currency is because it’s spawning a lot of innovation and thinking about how you transfer money around the world, how you store money, all those kinds of things.”
In 2015, he was one of the people who invested in Coinbase. Along with former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer, the New York Stock Exchange and Spanish bank BBVA, Vikram participated in a $75 million fundraising for the now publicly-trading exchange.
At the time of investment, Bitcoin was trading at $200 and was being hailed as the year’s worst investment after losing half its value. It has now gone up 33,000 percent to trade north of $66,000 today.