HSBC, a leading UK bank, has indicated its intention to venture into cryptocurrencies by announcing key job vacancies in the sector. Specifically, the bank is hiring a product director for tokenization use cases and digital assets, according to job listings posted Jan. 30. According to the bank, the roles were necessitated by the evolving nature of the crypto sector and the risk appetite it brings.
HSBC Holdings plc is a British multinational universal bank and financial services holding company. It is the largest bank in Europe by total assets ahead of BNP Paribas, with US$2.953 trillion as of December 2021. In 2021, HSBC had $10.8 trillion in assets under custody (AUC) and $4.9 trillion in assets under administration (AUA), respectively. HSBC traces its origin to a hong in British Hong Kong, and its present form was established in London by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation to act as a new group holding company in 1991.
Last year, HSBC had filed two crypto-related trademark applications for its name and logo with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Mike Kondoudis, a USPTO-licensed trademark attorney, noted in a tweet Friday that HSBC’s trademark applications indicate the bank’s plans for a number of digital products and services, including those related to the exchange and transfer of virtual currencies.
The trademark applications also detail several metaverse-related products and services, such as “facilitating secure payment transactions by electronic means in the metaverse,” “providing banking services in the metaverse,” and “providing processing of virtual credit card, virtual debit card, virtual prepaid card, and virtual payment card transactions in the metaverse.” HSBC also included a number of NFT services, such as “downloadable digital files authenticated by non-fungible tokens (NFTs).”
HSBC joined the metaverse by partnering with blockchain virtual gaming platform The Sandbox in March. However, HSBC Group’s CEO, Noel Quinn, said in September that crypto is not in the bank’s future.
An increasing number of major corporations and financial services institutions have filed trademark applications covering a wide range of digital currency and metaverse products and services. For example, Visa, Paypal, and Western Union filed crypto-related trademark applications in October. Last month, JPMorgan Chase was granted a wallet trademark covering various virtual currency and payment services.
For both roles, HSBC is looking for individuals who can operate in an ambiguous environment with knowledge of handling the changing regulatory landscape. Notably, the United Kingdom is among global jurisdictions accelerating the push towards enacting new crypto regulations amid increasing consumer interest.
HSBC now joins other established banking giants like JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) in offering cryptocurrency products. Finally, it is worth noting that banks that have taken the same route have mainly focused on a set of clients, mainly wealthy account holders. However, with HSBC looking for tokenization, the bank might seek to offer broader services.