Banking giant Citigroup, has developed 3 blockchains and a test cryptocurrency dubbed 'Citicoin' to run across them. The bank wants to make sure it is "at the leading edge of [distributed ledger technology]" so it can "exploit the opportunities within it."

According to Ken Moore, head of Citi Innovation Labs, Citi has been looking at blockchain technology for "the last few years" and has developed "an equivalent to bitcoin" within its labs while mining what it calls "Citicoin."

"We have up and running three separate systems within Citi now that actually deploy blockchain distributed ledger technologies," Moore told the International Business Times. "They are all within the labs just now so there is no real money passing through these systems yet, they are at a pre-production level to be clear."

The bank is exploring how it could use blockchain technology for cross border payments; "trade probably being a second runner," Moore said. He explained:

"Because we are a global network, a global bank, we can look for opportunities to use this technology to move money from country to country - country A to country B, across our network."

Ken Moore, head of Citi Innovation Labs

Moore said that the bank has been in talks with governments and regulators about the potential of either a worldwide blockchain distributed ledger network, or even "the opportunity to create a state-backed digital currency in a number of different countries," he said.

Citi's interest into digitalizing payments and transactions has led the bank to focus on five main domains of which the blockchain is just one.

As major financial institutions and banks, including the Nasdaq, Santander and UBS, are investigating how they can benefit from distributed ledger technology, one of Australia's biggest banks announced yesterday it had invested in Coinbase through Reinventure Group, a fintech focused venture fund that counts Westpac as its largest investor.

Three of Australia's big four banks are currently trialing Ripple payments for faster and lower-cost cross-border payments and intra-bank transfers.