Battered Bitcoin claws back losses as oil rallies on recovery hopes

The chief executive of HSBC has publicly criticised Bitcoin, rejecting it as an asset class over concerns about its volatility, reports James Cook

“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,” Noel Quinn told Reuters.

HSBC has no plans to launch a cryptocurrency trading desk, as Goldman Sachs did earlier this month.

Mr Quinn was also sceptical of Bitcoin’s ability to handle payments. “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,” he said.

The price of Bitcoin has fallen to almost 50pc of its all-time high following crackdowns in China on use of cryptocurrencies.

Mr Quinn’s comments come after Deutsche Bank published a similar criticism last week. In an analyst note, the bank said Bitcoin will remain “ultra-volatile” because of its “limited tradeability.”

“A few additional large purchases or market exits could significantly impact the supply-demand equilibrium,” the bank continued.