HSBC "Cautiously” Investigating Use Cases for Crypto

Avi Rosten

With banks all over the world taking sides on the growing cryptocurrency industry, HSBC have said that they are “cautiously” interested in the space.

Talking to Forbes, Josh Bottomley - HSBC’s Global Head of Digital - described the bank’s position on the cryptocurrency ecosystem and their investment approach - explaining that they are only interested in real-use cases for cryptocurrencies:

“We 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."

The former Google exec, however, was keen to stress that this interest does not extend at the moment to investment in leading cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether:

“But that is very different to if it's pure speculation…Right now we're not interested in that at all...but it might change.”

Adding that:

“One of the criteria we use 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.”

Blockchain vs. Crypto for Banks

While HSBC is making relatively positively strides in investigating the crypto industry, it is openly embracing the underlying blockchain technology.

In May, the bank - in conjunction with ING - completed a successful pilot of the world’s first commercially viable trade finance transaction on a single blockchain platform – and last month announced their participation in a new blockchain-based trade finance platform with 21 other banks.

With the world’s five largest public companies all involved in blockchain in some way, it seems that the future is bright for blockchain irrespective of the fate of cryptocurrencies.