HSBC has confirmed its bitcoin and cryptocurrency stance as a growing number of major banks are beginning to offer crypto services. CEO Noel Quinn says that HSBC views bitcoin as an asset class rather than a payments vehicle but the bank is not rushing into providing cryptocurrency investments for clients.
HSBC Confirms Crypto Stance
HSBC CEO Noel Quinn said that the bank “has no plans to launch a cryptocurrency trading desk” or offer cryptocurrencies as investments to customers, Reuters reported Monday.
Quinn was quoted as saying: “Given the volatility we are not into bitcoin as an asset class, if our clients want to be there then of course they are, but we are not promoting it as an asset class within our wealth management business … For similar reasons, we’re not rushing into stablecoins.”
The HSBC executive explained that he is skeptical of cryptocurrencies partly because it is difficult to assess the transparency of who owns them and the problems with their ready convertibility into fiat money, the news outlet conveyed. Quinn further shared:
I view bitcoin as more of an asset class than a payments vehicle, with very difficult questions about how to value it on the balance sheet of clients because it is so volatile.
He continued: “Then you get to stablecoins which do have some reserve backing behind them to address the stored value concerns, but it depends on who the sponsoring organization is plus the structure and accessibility of the reserve.”
The clarification by HSBC’s CEO regarding cryptocurrency came as China banned financial institutions from providing services related to crypto transactions and reiterated its cryptocurrency crackdown that was announced back in 2017. China is key to HSBC’s growth strategy.
HSBC has not been friendly to bitcoin or any cryptocurrencies. In April, the bank changed its policy to bar clients from buying stocks of companies that hold bitcoin, like Microstrategy.
Meanwhile, other major banks are launching or planning to launch crypto services, including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, UBS, DBS, and Citigroup.
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