HSBC Bars Clients from Buying Stocks of Companies Holding Bitcoin

HSBC Bars Clients from Buying Stocks of Companies Holding Bitcoin

HSBC has reportedly changed its policy regarding cryptocurrency as the British lender bars clients from purchasing stocks of companies that have Blockchain asset on balance sheets.

In a recent email sent to customers, the bank said it prohibits customers from buying the stocks of public companies that hold Bitcoin, like Microstrategy.

This means that HBSC will not conduct transactions on such companies, informing its customers from holding such in their portfolio, though some customers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the development.

Britain remains one of the advanced economies around the world that remained skeptical about the various digital assets, with financial service authority outright ban on the crypto asset.

Despite growing acceptance among its peers, HSBC reportedly becomes stricter with its crypto policy with decision to prohibit customers from trading companies holding Bitcoin in its treasury.

An HSBC customer has shared a message received from the bank, informing him of a policy change regarding cryptocurrencies, naming Bitcoin and Ethereum as examples.

The bank’s new policy applies to “products related or referencing the performance of virtual currencies.” The notice reads:

The notice singles out one stock in particular. “Our records show that your HSBC Invest Direct account is holding Microstrategy Inc-A — MSTR-US, a virtual currency product.”

While Microstrategy does not offer any crypto services, it has been heavily buying BTC since October last year. The company has amassed almost 100K BTC and has made acquiring the cryptocurrency one of its primary goals.

The British bank did not specify how much Bitcoin a company has to hold in order for its stock to be banned from the bank. Microstrategy has made it a policy to hold 100% of its treasury reserves in BTC.

A rapidly expanding list of companies have said that they are investing in Bitcoin but usually in smaller percentages than Microstrategy.

This includes Elon Musk’s Tesla which invested $1.5 billion in January. Jack Dorsey’s Square Inc. also put 5% of its total cash reserves in Bitcoin. The website bitcointreasuries.org has curated a growing list of companies with Bitcoin in their treasuries.

One Twitter user commented on the situation, speculating that HSBC Canada “is probably arbitrarily deciding what percentage of Bitcoin reserves is ok for clients to invest in.”

The HSBC customer who received the notice tweeted to Microstrategy CEO Michael Saylor: “You may want to ask your legal team if what HSBC Canada is doing here is legal. It sure does not sound like it is. They won’t allow us to buy Microstrategy.”

 Referring to all companies with Bitcoin investments, he further opined: “All of these companies may be on the chopping block because they hold BTC. This is the opposite of ‘free market.’”

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HSBC Bars Clients from Buying Stocks of Companies Holding Bitcoin