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The stance of HSBC is opposing to the stance of other major financial institutions like UBS, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs
Europe’s largest bank HSBC has revealed that it will not be launching a crypto trading desk. Citing volatility, HSBC Chief Executive Noel Quinn added that the bank would not be offering crypto assets as investment options to its clients either.
“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 […] 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. 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,” Quinn told Reuters.
Last week was a bad week for Bitcoin which continues struggling to return to its recent heights. The popular cryptocurrency took a hard hit after China restricted crypto mining and trading. The asset, which had briefly lost about 50% of its value from its recent all-time-high, plunged a further 11% after the announcement by the Chinese government.
This is an opposing stance to fellow major financial institutions UBS, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Morgan Stanley in March enabled its wealth management clients to access BTC funds, becoming the first prominent US to do so. Swiss Investment bank UBS was earlier this month reported to be planning to offer crypto investments to its clients. Goldman Sachs earlier this month revealed that it would trade bitcoin-derived Non-Deliverable Forwards (NDFs)
Quinn views Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) as a better option. He explains:
“CBDCs can facilitate international transactions in e-wallets more simply, they take out friction costs and they are likely to operate in a transparent manner and have strong attributes of stored value”.
This seems to be the stance of some central banks. Several have already launched CBDCs or are in the process of testing. China, for example, launched a pilot CBDC last year and the UK is exploring the possibility of a “Britcoin”. The US Federal Reserve also issued a statement last week revealing that they would be publishing a paper this summer discussing a potential digital dollar.