HSBC Set to Launch a Digital Assets Custody Service

HSBC, Europe’s banking giant, has taken a significant leap into the digital asset space by announcing its new custody service for tokenized securities. This move positions HSBC at the forefront of major financial institutions integrating blockchain technology into traditional banking services.

According to a report by CNBC, the bank is partnering with Swiss crypto custody firm Metaco, which was acquired by FinTech firm Ripple back in May, to facilitate the secure storage of digital bonds and other securities. This service, which is set to launch in 2024, is a natural extension of HSBC’s existing digital asset initiatives, including the HSBC Orion platform for digital asset issuance and its recent venture into tokenized physical gold offerings.

On 17 May 2023, Ripple announced the acquisition of Metaco, a Swiss firm specializing in digital asset custody and tokenization services. This was a strategic move by Ripple to expand its enterprise solutions, allowing clients to manage, issue, and settle tokenized assets effectively.

Read Also: British Banking Giant, HSBC, Announces Its Cooperation with Ripple!

Metaco has established itself as a trusted name in institutional digital asset custody, boasting a portfolio of high-caliber institutional clients and a history of partnerships with regulated entities to create secure, enterprise-grade solutions. Ripple’s CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, praised Metaco’s strong reputation and its potential for growth with Ripple’s support, emphasizing the commitment to continue serving banking and institutional clients.

Metaco’s flagship product, Harmonize™, offers institutions a robust custody infrastructure trusted by leading global custodians, banks, and financial institutions. Utilizing the Harmonize platform, HSBC aims to provide a seamless and secure management system for digital asset operations. Harmonize is designed to offer institutional-grade security, unifying the various aspects of digital asset management under one roof.

The CNBC report mentions that introduction of custody services for tokenized securities by HSBC follows in the footsteps of BNY Mellon, another banking giant that embraced digital asset custody in 2021. Tokenized securities represent regulated assets such as bonds and equities but in a token form on a blockchain, which is essentially a shared digital ledger. While originally the backbone for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, blockchain’s utility in banking extends to digitizing traditional assets for payments, trading, and more, often without involving digital currencies directly.

According to HSBC’s press release, Zhu Kuang Lee, HSBC’s Chief Digital, Data, and Innovation Officer for Securities Services, indicated that there is a growing demand among asset managers and owners for the custody and administration of digital assets as the market matures. He emphasized that HSBC is responding to this need by developing a scalable and secure next-generation custody infrastructure through strategic partnerships, stressing the critical nature of innovation and collaboration in this era of change for asset servicers.

Read Also: HSBC and Ant Group Collaborate on Tokenized Deposits: A New Frontier in Banking

Adrien Treccani, CEO and Founder of Metaco, expressed enthusiasm about collaborating with HSBC in its journey to harness distributed ledger technology (DLT) for asset creation and custody. He pointed out that Metaco’s Harmonize platform is set to play a crucial role in the evolving interaction between issuers and investors, especially as capital markets and assets increasingly adopt distributed ledger representations.

John O’Neill, who leads HSBC’s Global Digital Assets Strategy in Markets and Securities Services, shared his excitement about the upcoming launch of HSBC’s digital asset custody service. This new offering is designed to work in synergy with HSBC Orion, the bank’s platform for issuing digital assets, and its recent initiative involving tokenized physical gold. O’Neill’s comments highlight HSBC’s dedication to fostering the growth of the digital asset markets.

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