HSBC Is “Cautiously Looking” At Cryptocurrency Use Cases

News | July 20, 2018 By:

Josh Bottomley, HSBC’s Global Head of Digital, said the bank is cautiously exploring cryptocurrency use cases.

In an interview with Forbes, Bottomley was asked about the bank’s approach to crypto. He said they are “cautious looking into this area”

“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,” Bottomley said. “But that is very different to if it’s pure speculation. Right now we’re not interested in that at all.”

Bottomley said that while the bank currently doesn’t believe broadly that cryptocurrencies are a genuine investment asset, it may change in the future.

“One of the criteria we use is if an asset class is showing incredible volatility up and down,” Bottomley said. “For the vast majority of our customers, that makes it an inappropriate saving or investment vehicle.”

At present, HSBC does not trade cryptocurrencies or process payments denominated in virtual currencies. But the bank allows clients to purchase cryptocurrencies using credit cards as long as the transactions made abide by anti-money laundering legislation.

Although HSBC remains wary of cryptocurrencies, the bank has been exploring blockchain’s potential in a number of applications. In November 2017, HSBC, along with nine major global bank, developed the We.Trade platform, a blockchain solution designed to address the expectations of customers to make cross-border trade more straightforward. In May of this year, HSBC and Dutch bank ING conducted their first live trade finance transaction using blockchain technology.