Speaking at the 2nd World Intelligence Conference in Tianjin, on Wednesday, May 16, Jack Ma, the founder of the renowned Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, spoke out saying that Bitcoin is a bubble, but the blockchain technology isn’t.
Ma said he has been studying blockchain for years and believes firmly in its potential to solve the problems security of data privacy and for society at all levels — individuals, corporations, and governments — in an “age of big data.”
He emphasized that security is a prime priority for the e-commerce company, which reported 39.9 billion dollars in annual revenue in its latest financial Q4 profits statement, and has “trillions of transactions” in trading volume.
Ma added that unfortunately, much of the attention the blockchain industry gets comes from speculators who see blockchain as some “enormous gold mine.” Ma was suspicious of Bitcoin even during its prime time in December 2017, telling CNBC Shanghai at the period:
“I am not aware of Bitcoin at all. I’m especially puzzled. Even if it can work, the customs of global trade and the financial system will be totally transformed. I don’t think we are ready. We have a team that researches blockchain, but Bitcoin is not something that I want to try. We are not concerned with Bitcoin.”
According to Bloomberg, Jack Ma became the wealthiest man in Asia last year, with his net worth rising to 41.8 billion dollars. The top-rated mobile payment application Alipay, managed by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, has 450 million users.
In summer 2016, Ant Financial adopted the blockchain technology to in an effort to improve accountability in its operation with the Chinese charity industry, going on to hire blockchain experts in the firm at large the following year.
However, in line with Ma’s view, Alibaba Group has stopped short of adopting digital currencies, with Alibaba Cloud recently dismissing rumors its lately launched ‘P2P Nodes’ network was a platform for mining cryptocurrency. Later, in April, Taobao, an Alibaba subsidiary banned all ICO-related ad from its platform.