Legacy bank HSBC announced its latest blockchain endeavor in partnership with a Ripple-owned firm to service institutional clients with demand for real-world assets (RWA) hosted on-chain.
According to a Nov. 8 statement, HSBC plans to launch a digital asset custody service for tokenized financial instruments sometime in 2024. Metaco, a Swiss firm specializing in safeguarding crypto assets, was named HSBC’s partner for its new product. Ripple acquired Metaco for $250 million in May 2023.
The bank said the offering would complete a 360-degree platform along with its digital asset issuance service and its product which tokenizes physical gold, allowing eligible investors greater access to RWAs and traditional investment vehicles housed on blockchain networks.
HSBC emphasized that its custodial service for digital assets will not cater to crypto tokens or stablecoins until further notice.
Zhu Kuang Lee, an executive of Securities Services at HSBC, said the bank has been negotiating key partnerships to deliver next-gen custody infrastructure at scale.
We’re seeing increasing demand for custody and fund administration of digital assets from asset managers and asset owners, as this market continues to evolve… For asset servicers, there has never been a more important time to innovate, to collaborate, and to create change.Zhu Kuang Lee, Chief Digital, Data and Innovation Officer, Securities Services, HSBC
A handful of banks have forayed into blockchain applications for commercial purposes as investors seek contemporary methods to deploy and secure capital. JPMorgan reportedly facilitates $1 billion in daily transactions via its JPM Coin payment channel, global payment chief Takis Georgakopoulos told Bloomberg in September 2023.
Deutsche Bank also disclosed plans for a tokenization service and custodial product for digital assets. The bank partnered with fintech company Taurus for this development at a time when RWAs on blockchain have experienced growth, climbing to nearly $1 billion in market cap per Coingecko.
In other HSBC-related news, the bank moved to revamp London’s outdated gold market infrastructure. HSBC also unveiled Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs for Hong Kong traders shortly after local authorities pushed for banks to onboard crypto clients.