HSBC could change crypto stance

HSBC executive says that cryptocurrencies are currently too volatile to consider

The world’s seventh largest bank is taking a cautious look at cryptocurrencies, although, for the time being, it says it has no interest at all in crypto.

According to HSBC Global Head of Digital Josh Bottomley, one of the criteria it uses is “if an asset class is showing incredible volatility up and down. For the vast majority of our customers, that makes it an inappropriate saving or investment vehicle.”

He adds: “There’s a use case when you have a token or currency that’s actually useful for a particular purpose, and it serves that need. But that is very different from if it’s pure speculation. Right now we’re not interested in that at all.”

Bottomley says in an interview with Forbes that HSBC does not “believe broadly” that crypto is a true investment asset, “but that may change”.

In August 2017, HSBC joined the Utility Settlement Coin (USC) project aimed at facilitating the issuance of currencies by central banks around the world using blockchain technology.

Back then, HSBC Head of FinTech Partnerships and Strategy – Kaushalya Somasundaram – said the USC was “a very good step forward in terms of going for more ambitious projects such as central bank digital currencies in the future”.

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