Citi Partners with World Bank on Euroclear’s DLT Platform for Digitally Native Note Issuance

Citi’s Issuer Services, a segment of Securities Services, acted as the Issuing and Paying Agent for the first Digitally Native Note (DNN) issuance under English Law through Euroclear’s Digital Financial Market Infrastructure (D-FMI) distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform. The transaction involved a EUR 100 million, 3-year DNN issued by the World Bank – International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and was listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.

The Significance of Digitally Native Note Issuance

The issuance and settlement of DNNs on a T0 (same-day) basis mark a pivotal advancement in the bond sector, laying the groundwork for a fully digital transaction lifecycle. This initiative demonstrates a scalable model that merges the merits of digitization with existing bond accessibility and liquidity. It showcases how blockchain technology can mesh with current capital market frameworks, aiming at enhanced efficiency and growth avenues for debt capital market players as the D-FMI infrastructure evolves.

A Multi-Year Collaborative Effort

The initiative is a result of a multi-year collaborative effort among key industry stakeholders including Citi, Euroclear, and IBRD. It aims to establish a robust digital infrastructure for the issuance of DNNs. Andrew Mulley, EMEA Head of Citi’s Issuer Services, highlighted the initiative’s potential to revolutionize the debt capital market operations. Moreover, Ryan Marsh, Global Head of Blockchain, Digital Assets & Innovation for Citi Securities Services, echoed this sentiment, hinting at a series of digital bond initiatives in the pipeline.

Reflecting on Past and Future Digital Initiatives

Lieve Mostrey, Euroclear Group CEO, and Jorge Familiar, Vice President and Treasurer, World Bank, also expressed their enthusiasm for the digital venture. This initiative follows the World Bank’s earlier blockchain bond “bond-i,” further propelling the digitization journey of debt capital markets. Citi continues its endeavor in digital asset solutions, aligning with its strategic objectives and risk tolerance, leveraging a unified technological framework for innovative solutions in digital money, trade, securities, custody, asset servicing, and collateral mobility.

Citi Securities Services at a Glance

Citi Securities Services, boasting about US $28 trillion of assets under custody, administration, and trust, offers an array of securities services solutions tailored to meet clients’ demands. With an expansive proprietary network over 60 markets, it stands as a robust cross-border support for clients, manifesting Citi’s overarching capability in managing a broad spectrum of financial products and services across nearly 160 countries and jurisdictions.

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Hong Kong Monetary Authority Emphasizes AI and DLT in Fintech Roadmap

With the release of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s (HKMA) most recent Fintech Promotion Roadmap today, on 25 August 2023, the financial environment in Hong Kong is poised to be more attractive. This thorough manual presents a strategic outlook for the next year with the goal of promoting fintech adoption across the region’s diversified financial services industry.

The Roadmap accentuates pivotal fintech business sectors, primarily Wealthtech, Insurtech, and Greentech. Furthermore, it brings to the forefront two revolutionary technology paradigms: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), the underlying technology of blockchain. The drafting of this Roadmap was not an isolated endeavor. The HKMA joined forces with the Securities and Futures Commission, the Insurance Authority, and a spectrum of stakeholders from various financial sectors to ensure a holistic representation.

Delving deeper into the Roadmap, the initiatives of the HKMA are not limited to merely advocating fintech’s potential. Instead, there’s a distinct shift towards a hands-on approach, facilitating financial institutions in their journey to translate fintech theories into tangible solutions. Over the ensuing 12 months, the HKMA has earmarked a slew of activities:

  1. Fintech Knowledge Hub: Aimed to be a reservoir of fintech expertise, this hub will feature a directory, categorizing fintech service providers and financial institutions. This endeavor seeks to centralize resources, rendering them easily accessible for all fintech stakeholders.
  2. Events and Dialogues: With a commitment to nurturing a symbiotic relationship between financial institutions and fintech service providers, the HKMA envisions regular showcase events and roundtable discussions. These platforms will not only foster collaboration but will also be crucibles for innovation.
  3. Skill Development: Recognizing the importance of continuous learning in a rapidly evolving domain, the HKMA will orchestrate interactive seminars and training sessions. These sessions, tailored to address specific fintech niches, are poised to become knowledge transfer hubs, catalyzing cross-sectoral information exchange.
  4. Content Creation: To ensure that the intricacies of fintech adoption are well-understood, the HKMA has plans to curate and disseminate educational content. This will span use-case videos to research reports, providing a 360-degree view of the fintech adoption spectrum.

Offering insights into the motivation behind this initiative, Mr. Arthur Yuen, Deputy Chief Executive of the HKMA, was quoted saying, “The unveiling of this Roadmap is not just a milestone for the banking sector, but a beacon for the entire financial services industry. The underpinning philosophy of our Roadmap is collaboration. We’re looking beyond banking, casting a wide net to encompass sectors like insurance, wealth management, and capital market activities. Through synergies with other financial regulators and continuous engagement with stakeholders, our vision is a resilient, inclusive fintech ecosystem for Hong Kong.”

This initiative is not an isolated one. It dovetails perfectly with the overarching “Fintech 2025” strategy of the HKMA. This strategy germinated the “All banks go Fintech” initiative in 2021, a clarion call for banks to embrace digitalization. A subsequent Tech Baseline Assessment in June 2022 crystallized the growth trajectories in Wealthtech, Insurtech, Greentech, AI, and DLT. These insights were instrumental in sculpting the current Roadmap.

For those keen on delving into the granular details of the Roadmap and to understand the breadth of initiatives by the HKMA, the recently unveiled report is a treasure trove of information.

As Hong Kong stands at the cusp of a fintech revolution, the Roadmap by the HKMA is set to be its compass, guiding stakeholders through the labyrinth of fintech adoption, ensuring that Hong Kong retains its position as a global fintech center.

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CITD to Issue HK$100 Million Bonds Utilizing Blockchain

China Information Technology Development Limited (CITD) (HKEX: 8178), a leading technology company specializing in AI and cloud technologies, has announced its plan to issue HK$100 million worth of Bonds using distributed ledger technology (DLT). The proposed issuance aims to revolutionize the bond market by leveraging blockchain and smart contract technologies.

The Bonds, with a maturity date set for June 27, 2053, will be documented using the Digital Ownership Token (DOT) standard and implemented through a binding Ricardian Contract. By incorporating all bond documents and smart contract codes into the Bond Security Token, CITD ensures that the Token itself becomes the security, providing greater certainty, efficiency, and security for bond holders. Moreover, this approach allows investors to directly hold and control their own securities, eliminating the need for a third-party custodian.

The use of DOT standard in the Bond Security Token sets a new precedent in the bond market, offering enhanced security and transparency compared to traditional paper-based bond offerings. The tokenization of debt instruments using DOTs enables a clear record of ownership and simplifies the transferability of securities. Additionally, the elimination of third-party custodians reduces risks associated with securities custody.

CITD’s decision to embrace DLT and the DOT standard aligns with its strategic vision for the development of Web3.0 and blockchain business. As the Hong Kong government actively supports the growth of Web3.0 and decentralized finance (DeFi) industries, CITD aims to leverage its expertise in digital transformation to pioneer innovative solutions in various sectors, including finance, healthcare, and logistics.

The issuance of the Bonds in the form of Bond Security Tokens is expected to generate capital more efficiently and cost-effectively, while showcasing the benefits of blockchain technology to potential investors. CITD’s approach eliminates intermediaries and enables direct deposit of tokens into investors’ wallets. Bond Security Tokens can be easily transferred and stored, streamlining bond transactions and offering a secure method for managing investments.

The yield to maturity of the Bonds is set at 3.73% per annum, which the Directors of CITD consider to be fair and reasonable compared to similar treasury yields. The terms and conditions of the Bonds have been reviewed by legal advisers, ensuring compliance with regulatory obligations in Hong Kong.

With an issue period from the First Issue Date to July 12, 2023, CITD will keep shareholders and potential investors informed of the outcome of the bond issuance. As the company expands into the Web3.0 space, it seeks to solidify its position as a leader in the emerging blockchain ecosystem, driving the widespread adoption of digital securities.


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DLT in Capital Markets: A Strategic Assessment of Opportunities and Risks – A Report by the Global Financial Markets Association

The Global Financial Markets Association (GFMA) has released a comprehensive report examining the opportunities and challenges presented by Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), including DLT-based Securities and associated activities across the securities lifecycle.

The report, developed in collaboration with GFMA member firms, incorporates the insights of industry practitioners at the forefront of DLT use cases research and application worldwide.

The report indicates that innovation in distributed computing and data encryption, embodied in DLT and the emerging digital asset ecosystem, could have a fundamental impact on the next major wave of capital market developments. The technology is seen as a potential catalyst for operational efficiency, cost savings, product innovation, broader market access, and new liquidity pools.

The current focus is ensuring that DLT applications meet regulatory requirements and mitigate any potential risks associated with the use of this new technology. Several jurisdictions are introducing sandboxes or pilot regimes to facilitate firms’ experimentation with and issuance of DLT-based products. Live use cases in capital markets, profiled in the report, are already beginning to capitalize on opportunities and deliver benefits to clients while remaining compliant with existing rules and regulations.

The emergence of DLT and the digital asset ecosystem represents a critical juncture. As regulators worldwide formulate policy to govern the ecosystem, it is crucial to ensure stability and protections for market participants in digital asset markets. The report aims to guide policymakers and market participants in identifying regulatory, supervisory, and risk management practices that not only offer stability and protections but also permit the industry and economy to leverage the benefits of DLT.

Despite the growing momentum behind DLT use cases, there is yet to be widespread adoption of DLT-based Securities. DLT-based issuances have been largely experimental, and liquidity in Primary and Secondary Markets remains significantly below the levels expected in the long term. The report warns that siloed approaches and diverging regulatory regimes could hinder progress towards a broader, coordinated DLT-based ecosystem.

To foster confidence among industry participants, the GFMA underscores the need for cross-industry consensus. This consensus should aim to promote development around specific use cases and encourage stakeholders to proactively shape the emerging ecosystem in its foundational phase of development. In response, the GFMA and its members have proposed five calls to action to overcome existing adoption barriers and further the development of DLT-based capital markets. These calls to action are targeted at industry participants and regulators alike.


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DSF Launches to Promote DLT Adoption and Provide Grant Support

As part of its efforts to promote the adoption of DLT, the DSF will provide support through grants to its university network. The organization has also opened its first call for grant proposals, offering up to $5 million for eligible organizations or individuals.

The DSF is supported by the open-source public ledger project Hedera, which will lend its expertise in DLT to the DSF University Network. This partnership will enable the DSF to empower academics and education in various universities, drawing from its own experiences and the challenges it has faced.

Paolo Tasca, chairman and co-founder of the DSF, expressed his excitement over the potential breakthroughs that may come from the organization’s efforts. He believes that unlocking the potential of DLT will lead to a better future for everyone. The DSF aims to drive innovation, foster new collaborative models between academia, industry, and government, and promote the responsible adoption of DLT in business and society.

Nikhil Vadgama, the director and co-founder of the organization, also commented on the launch. According to Vadgama, the DSF has an opportunity to empower academics and education in various universities, drawing from its own experiences and the challenges it has faced. The DSF has developed grant programs that are specifically designed to address the needs of the DLT community.

The DSF University Network includes prestigious institutions such as the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, the London School of Economics, the National University of Singapore, University College London, and the University of Zurich. These institutions are at the forefront of DLT research and are uniquely positioned to drive innovation and foster collaboration between academia, industry, and government.

In addition to providing grant support, the DSF will also focus on promoting the responsible adoption of DLT in business and society. The organization recognizes the potential of DLT to transform industries and improve the lives of people around the world. However, it also acknowledges the need for responsible adoption to ensure that the technology is used ethically and with the best interests of society in mind.

In conclusion, the launch of the DSF is a significant development in the world of DLT. The organization’s focus on promoting adoption and providing grant support to its university network, combined with its partnership with Hedera, has the potential to drive innovation and foster collaboration between academia, industry, and government. The DSF’s efforts to promote responsible adoption of DLT in business and society are also commendable and will ensure that the technology is used ethically and for the greater good.


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European Central Bank Considers Rolling Out Blockchain-Powered Bank Transactions

The European Central Bank (ECB) seeks to be ahead of the game by studying how blockchain-based bank transactions will enable more money control even if lenders change to distributed ledgers.

Fabio Panetta, an ECB board member, pointed out that it was fundamental to avert a situation where liquidity and trading would become fragmented if banks were allowed to settle amongst themselves or utilize stablecoins. 

Panetta added:

“Despite the uncertainties surrounding DLT’s potential, we want to be prepared for a scenario where market players adopt DLT for wholesale payments and securities settlement.”

Market participants can use distributed ledger technology (DLT) to verify transactions since a copy of them is kept rather than depending on a trusted party like a central bank. Per the report:

“On top of a digital euro for consumers, the ECB is looking at how it could let banks settle wholesale transactions between them on a distributed ledger, rather than the central bank’s own.”

Based on the popularity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and the underlying blockchain technology, the ECB is one of the global central banks eyeing digital currencies.

For instance, the ECB launched a public consultation on the proposed Digital Euro, Blockchain.News reported. 

On the part of stablecoins, Panetta disclosed that they could jeopardize monetary supremacy. He said:

“Giving stablecoins the ECB’s backing would outsource the provision of central bank money to private entities, endangering monetary sovereignty.”

Panetta added that the ECB sought solutions to bridge the gap between its Target 2 settlement system and private blockchains

Meanwhile, the ECB raised interest rates by 50 basis points (bps), which brought its deposit rates back to zero from -0.5% in July. The hike was a surprise move as economists had anticipated a smaller hike of 25bps.

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HSBC Undertakes Blockchain-based Trade Finance Transacntion for Automotive Sector in the Middle East

Through the Contour platform, HSBC conducted a blockchain-based trade finance transaction between SAIC Motor, a Chinese car manufacturer and Taajeer Group, the exclusive agent for MG cars in Saudi Arabia. 

With its help from the Contour platform, it would significantly increase the speed of dealing with paperwork. HSBC noted that by using distributed ledger technology has the potential to revamp the trade finance sector by slashing transaction times to less than 24 hours from the present five to ten days.

Per the announcement:

“The Contour platform enabled end-to-end digitisation of the credit documentation required for Taajeer to import a shipment of cars from SAIC in a process that is up to 10 times faster than using physical documents.”  

Chaker Zeraiki, the head of global trade & receivables finance at HSBC UAE, stated:

“Our digitizing at scale means making customers’ lives easier and, with Contour it means we’re cutting costs, reducing risk and speeding up trade. Bringing these benefits to the automotive sector and Saudi Arabia are a measure of our international connectivity and our global leadership in trade banking.” 

Contour seeks to digitize the worldwide trade finance industry worth $53 billion through decentralized technology by integrating digital networks across present fragmented ecosystems and trade routes as a blockchain trade finance network.

Carl Wegner, Contour’s CEO, pointed out:

“This transaction marks an important milestone in the Middle East’s automotive sector, proving that distributed ledger technology is successfully transforming the trade finance ecosystem.”

The blockchain-powered trade finance transaction is a first of its kind on Saudi Arabian soil, and it is seen as a stepping stone towards the nation’s Vision 2030 initiative of becoming a regional trade hub. 

HSBC has emerged as a notable facilitator of blockchain-based trade transactions. 

For instance, the leading British multinational investment bank and financial services holding company partnered with Wave to execute a blockchain-powered trade between China and New Zealand, Blockchain.News reported. 

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Britain Eyes Becoming a Crypto Hub, Upgrading the Market by Adopting DLT

In pursuit of becoming a global crypto hub, the United Kingdom seeks to revamp the traditional financial market using distributed ledger technology (DLT), according to the finance ministry, as reported by Reuters. 

By live testing crypto blockchain technology in activities like settlement and trading of bonds and stocks, the UK intends to make the financial market more efficient and innovative for users. 

Per the report:

“In financial markets, the trading of stocks, bonds, and other assets traditionally involves three distinct activities of trading, clearing, and settlement. Using DLT could change this and allow financial assets such as bonds or stocks to be issued in hours rather than days or weeks.”

DLT projects will be tested using a financial market infrastructure dubbed “sandbox” from next year, according to the ministry’s director-general for financial services, Gwyneth Nurse. “A sandbox will allow testing new regulatory best practices and making permanent changes to ensure market users benefit,” Nurse added.

Nurse also pointed out that the Bank of England and the finance ministry were delving deeper into the digital pound as a public consultation was expected later this year. 

The sandbox is expected to be rolled out simultaneously with the stablecoin regulation.

It seems a race against time for global governments to put up guardrails in the stablecoin arena following the shocking collapse of the algorithmic TerraUSD (UST) stablecoin, which triggered the loss of approximately $60 billion.

Meanwhile, In Asia, Japan recently passed a law stipulating that stablecoins would only be issued by licensed banks, trust companies, and registered money transfer agents to protect investors. 

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MetaWeek to Take Place in Dubai on March 7-10, 2022, Shaping the Future Trends for Metaverses and Blockchain

Investors, NFT artists, blockchain brightest minds, DeFi experts and DAO representatives will converge to UAE for a week-long event with a full-scale trailblazing digital and physical networking experience. Community leaders will discuss what will define the development of blockchain space and the upcoming realm of Metaverses. 

Organised by NexChange Group, MetaWeek will take place at the Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre from 7th to 10th of March, 2022. Accumulating the most discussed digital topics of the year, a whole week-long event will include multiple side events. MetaWeek will culminate on the 8th and 9th with its core event, the 2-day MetaWeek summit featuring immensely anticipated speakers from the Arabian Gulf region and all over the world.

Breaking barriers between digital and physical space, Metaverse is best described as a virtual world with highly sophisticated visual and art experience and crypto-based DeFi backbone, filled with communities, and powered by interoperable blockchain networks. Inside a Metaverse, users can share and store an unlimited amount of data, use self-sovereign IDs, play games and earn & trade digital assets, create limitless digital art pieces and play with NFTs and virtual goods, launch marketplaces – you name it. What’s more important, this virtual world is also owned and governed by the communities, giving them an opportunity to vote, rank, change and track decision patterns and govern their digital realm without any centralised power. 

Alongside Metaverses, essential financial and non-financial applications of blockchain will be covered during MetaWeek. Blockchain masterminds, NFT creators, DeFi spearheads, AI forerunners, artists, gaming tycoons, data analysts, and other experts interested in creating and nurturing the Web 3.0 with the help of the blockchain world will converge to Dubai for a major Meta Week event, which will combine high-level offline networking and content experience.

Juwan Lee, Founder, Chairman NexChange Group: “2021 brought us an extremely attractive market opportunity for launching Metaverses, that may bring an annual revenue of over $1 trillion. It’s a pivotal moment for us to determine the key players in this new global real-life game that is powered by the most impactful technology of today, blockchain.”

Key topics to be debated at the conference:

● Metaverse nature battle: private VS public, centralised VS decentralised
● Right ownership and privacy: who owns the data?
● Governance challenges and ways to achieve peace: algorithms, smart contracts, etc.
● Decentralised architecture of blockchain & metaverses: need for speed and interoperability standards
● DAOs evolution: cloud cities and crypto states
● Blockchain 4 FinTech: sandboxes and real life use cases
● Corporates & metaverses: how to compete with decentralised world
● DeFi payment services as a financial backbone for digital world and for financial inclusion in the real world
● AR/VR major metaverse use cases
● NFTs and their real value: what’s beyond the hype?
Digital Identities for real world and for metaverses
● GameFi, play-to-earn and prospects of gamification
● How will cryptocurrencies & digital assets evolve with metaverses
● Market opportunities for Web 3.0: is it really worth $1 trillion
● Investment priorities for metaverses and blockchain
● Creators economy & capitalism

NexChange Group is a venture builder and media platform specializing in Blockchain, FinTech, HealthTech, AI, and Smart Cities. 

For more information on the registration, speakers, agenda and partnerships, please visit or contact:


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EU’s ESMA Wants Public Input on Proposed DLT Regulation

The European Union’s Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has called on concerned market stakeholders to comment on its proposed regulation bordering on the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) for use in securities trading and settlement. - 2022-01-06T153250.095.jpg

Dubbed the “call for evidence,” the ESMA said it seeks feedback from stakeholders on the need to amend the RTS on pre-and post-trade transparency and data reporting requirements in the context of the DLT Pilot.

According to the notification published by the ESMA, the DLT pilot is not completely finalized; however, there is a political agreement between the EP and the Council to establish the framework. On this ground, the regulator wants public input prior to finalizing the regulations for the European Commission to approve.

The Call for Evidence is targeted at trading venues, securities settlement systems, and entities that are considering operating under the DLT Pilot and for market participants that plan to use DLT market infrastructures. The deadline for submission of comments was slated for March 4. The ESMA hopes by its timeline. The DLT Pilot will be implemented across each EU member state by early 2023.

The European Union is very upfront about regulating the digital currency ecosystem and the unique technologies that are affiliated with the industry. While The ECB issued a report regarding stablecoins and describes these assets as “digital units of value that are not a form of any specific currency (or basket thereof) but rather, by relying on a set of stabilization tools,” which try to minimize the volatility of their prices, the EU’s apex bank is concerned with the lack of sweeping regulations governing the use of these assets.

Other countries, including the United States, share this sentiment. While many watchdogs do not dispute the innovative nature of these crypto-assets and their underlying technologies, surveillance and advocacy to regulate the space have grown in recent times.

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