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HSBC says no to Bitcoin, CEO terms crypto too volatile, tough to value and lacks transparency

HSBC CEO has shared the bank's definite stance on cryptocurrency, denying any interest to offer Bitcoin as an asset class to its clients.

(Image: Reuters) (Image: Reuters)
Story highlights
  • HSBC CEO has sought the volatility of Bitcoin as the reason to not list it as an asset class.
  • He highlighted the lack of transparency in the industry and the subsequent hardships in valuing it on balance sheets.
  • He also denied any speculations on stablecoins being offered by the bank.

In the ongoing global debate on the acceptance of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general, HSBC has now opted against their use. One of the world's largest banks, HSBC, has dismissed Bitcoin as an asset class, claiming it to be too volatile.

The banking major has revealed that it has no plans to foray into the Bitcoin market due to its volatility and lack of transparency. This means that HSBC will not be offering any services related to Bitcoin to its users.

HSBC CEO Noel Quinn revealed the decision on cryptocurrency during a recent interview with Reuters. Quinn said that Bitcoin is too volatile for HSBC to offer as an asset class within its wealth management business.

Quinn also highlighted the resulting issues with Bitcoin's volatility. He said that he views Bitcoin as "more of an asset class than a payments vehicle" and that this volatility and contradiction in its true nature makes it very difficult to value it on the balance sheet of clients.

Another major shortcoming that Quinn pointed out for his decision was the lack of transparency in the cryptocurrency industry. As per Quinn, it is impossible for an agency to tell who owns the crypto, and hence everything depends on whether the holders can be "trusted in regard to market integrity."

Citing these reasons, Quinn cleared that HSBC will not be launching any trading exchange for Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies for now. It will also not offer Bitcoin as an investment option to its clients.

He mentioned that the bank's clients could be involved with Bitcoin if they want to, but HSBC will refrain altogether from promoting it as an asset class.

Quinn further dismissed any speculation about HSBC offering stablecoins as an investment option. Although some banks have started offering them to their customers as a middle way to avoid the volatility of the regular cryptocurrencies, HSBC will not join the bandwagon.