Bloomberg asked several Wall Street leaders, including the CEOs of Nasdaq, Goldman Sachs and Citi, to imagine what markets might look like in the next 30 years. We were curious whether they’d mention blockchain to gauge the impact on their company’s strategies. Of the three, Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup, was by far the most upbeat about the technology.
The least enthusiastic was Goldman Sachs CEO, David Solomon. “I happen to think that blockchain technology is an early version of technologies that will ultimately be used to further digitize the infrastructure of financial services,” Solomon told Bloomberg. His key reservation is over blockchain’s scalability and speed. He compared blockchain today to the internet of 25 years ago.
Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman was a little more upbeat about the technology, but also said it would need to match and surpass the current scale of traditional markets. She is concerned that crime management needs to be taken more seriously for the technology to become more mainstream.
Turning to Citi, CEO Fraser said, “We are moving towards a boundless virtual economy in which markets do not open or close, digital asset on- and off-ramps are limitless and metaverse activities are widespread.” Bloomberg’s summarized version of her comments was almost entirely about blockchain. Apart from the coming 24/7 nature of markets, she spoke about tokenizing physical objects such as real estate and art. However, there need to be better standards, market infrastructures, regulations and governance for it to pan out.
We explored Ledger Insights’ coverage of the three companies to see if the enthusiasm tallies, and Citi was comfortably ahead. However, there are considerably more articles about JP Morgan, Standard Chartered and HSBC.
Fraser’s enthusiasm shows in Citi’s big idea – the Regulated Liability Network (RLN), where central banks, commercial banks and e-money providers come together to tokenize money and other assets. Citi is a major investor in SETL, the UK blockchain firm which has a strong capital markets track record and is working on bringing the RLN to life. SETL has also partnered with Digital Asset, which has its DAML smart contract technology, as well as relationships with numerous global stock exchanges, including ASX, HKEX, Deutsche Börse, SGX and others.