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Citi’s Ryan Rugg On Building The Future Of Finance With Tokenized Assets

The recently released sixth episode of Chainlink’s “The Future Is On” spotlight series features Ryan Rugg, Global Head of Digital Assets at Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS). Rugg shed light on Citi’s digital asset strategy and how blockchain, smart contracts, programmable money and tokenized assets are paving the way for a more efficient global financial system. 

Last summer, Citi was among a dozen top financial institutions and infrastructure providers that collaborated with Swift to develop how entities can transact with a variety of public and private blockchains through a single integration with Chainlink’s Cross-Chain Interoperability Protocol (CCIP), the industry standard for cross-chain digital asset and information transfer.

In September, TTS announced the creation and piloting of Citi Token Services for cash management and trade finance. Citi’s cash management solution provides corporate clients with 24/7, 365 infrastructure for cross-border cash transfers while its trade solution uses smart contracts to eliminate inefficiencies for clients like Danish shipping and logistics company, Maersk.

“The trade business is very paper-ridden and has a lot of inefficiencies,” said Rugg. “What we’re doing for Maersk is pre-funding smart contracts with tokens, so when the ship passes through a canal and receives a set of services that were laid out in a smart contract – fuel, goods – the money is released into the account. So we’re really streamlining that process where typical letters of credit, bank guarantees were needed.” 

As the industry-standard decentralized computing platform, which has enabled over $9.7 trillion in onchain transaction value, Chainlink provides a comprehensive set of services that are critical for creating and securing tokenized real-world assets (RWAs).

One of the many ways Chainlink supports tokenization in capital markets is by facilitating delivery vs. payment (DvP) workflows with cash/deposit tokens by performing single-chain or cross-chain atomic transactions that eliminate the risk of trade failure. 

Rugg described atomic settlement DvP as the holy grail of Citi’s core strategy for creating a network of tokenized assets to add efficiencies in global trade and cash management. She underscored the vital role trust-minimized infrastructure will play in the future of finance. 

“As we move even more into the digital frontier, that need for that infrastructure is going to be so key,” she said. “I think that blockchain really serves as one of the key technologies to be able to do that programmable money, but also have disparate parties that don’t necessarily trust each other on one network.”

Watch the sixth episode of “The Future Is On” featuring Citi’s Ryan Rugg.

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