HSBC ‘cautiously looking’ at cryptos but prices fall
Bitcoin gained on Friday, but most other cryptocurrency rivals were lower despite hints of further interest in the sector from institutional players.
HSBC’s global head of digital business Josh Bottomley told Forbes on Thursday that the UK’s second biggest bank was “cautiously looking” into cryptocurrencies.
Not genuine investment
He said at present the bank wasn’t certain that cryptocurrencies represented a genuine investment asset, although he added that this view may change.
He said: “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.”
While the bank does not currently trade cryptocurrencies or process payments using digital currencies, it has been actively pursuing use cases for the blockchain technology that underpins them.
It is part of the we.trade consortium which, earlier this month, conducted its first live trade finance operations using the blockchain ledger.
HSBC’s softening view on cryptocurrencies echoes the views of a number of institutional investors in recent weeks.
On Monday BlackRock, the world’s largest exchange-traded fund provider said it was forming a working group to assess potential investment in bitcoin futures.
Last week hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen said he had invested in Autonomous Partners, a fund launched in December that has acquired investments in cryptocurrencies and blockchain companies.
After several days of strong gains, most cryptocurrencies were lower on Friday. Here’s a round up of Friday’s moves at 11am London time, with seven-day moves in brackets:
- Bitcoin was up 0.7% to $7,464 (+19.2)
- Ethereum fell 3.5% to $463.66 (+6.3%)
- Ripple lost 6.8% to $0.46 (+4.1%)
- Bitcoin cash shed 4.6% to $790.49 (+14.1%)
- Eos slipped 3.3% to $8.37 (+16.5%)
- Stellar lumens fell 11.9% to $0.28 (+55.3%)
- Litecoin lost 3.4% to $85.05 (+10.4%)
- Cardano shed 7.2% to $0.18 (+39.3%)
- Iota fell 8.3% to $1 (+3.7%)
- Tether was flat at $1 (-0.1%)