HSBC is exploring opportunities in the metaverse, according to documents filed in the wake of its purchase of Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) UK arm.
The multi-national bank has rebranded SVB UK as HSBC Innovation Banking, transforming the unit into a global business banking operation for “cutting edge sectors such as tech and life sciences”, as well as investors in these sectors.
According to a trademark filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office, HSBC Innovation Banking’s potential remit also includes the creation or operation of “software for facilitating secure payment transactions by electronic means in the metaverse and other virtual worlds”, as well as fraud prevention, identity verification, banking and business transactions in the metaverse.
The metaverse refers to virtual reality online environments that are starting to gain traction with major technology groups such as Microsoft and Meta, parent company of Facebook.
The filing also references “downloadable digital files authenticated by non-fungible tokens”, including music and multimedia, and the “provision of online marketplaces” for tokens.
HSBC has not stated any formal plans to launch metaverse or virtual reality services outside of this filing.
Meanwhile, Washington-based Coastal Community Bank is exploring opportunities in the metaverse with the launch of a 3D game and digital “marketplace”.
The bank’s parent company, Coastal Financial Corporation, has launched Coastal World, a digital environment based on the San Juan Islands where the company is headquartered. As well as exploring the environment and playing games, users can interact with each other and engage with the bank and several other fintechs, including Aspiration, Bluevine, and Greenwood.
Eric Sprink, Coastal’s CEO, said Coastal World was the bank’s “first big step towards a marketplace in the Metaverse”.
“We have grand aspirations for Coastal World,” he added. “We aim to empower individuals with sound financial practices, enhance accessibility to banking services, and inject an element of enjoyment into the process. We firmly believe that banking doesn’t have to be mundane, and it should be available to everyone.”
Research by The Financial Brand from 2021 found that almost half (47%) of financial industry executives believed that virtual or augmented reality technology would be used by 20% of customers to interact with banks regularly by 2030.
Further reading: See Poonam Garg’s article for Banking Exchange from June 2022, ‘Why the Banking Industry Needs to Embrace the Metaverse’.