Tue, Jun 26, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Jack Ma likes blockchain, warns of bitcoin bubble


Billionaire Jack Ma (馬雲) has declared bitcoin a potential bubble, reiterating his caution over the cryptocurrency as his Ant Financial Services Group (螞蟻金服) yesterday launched blockchain-based money transfers between Hong Kong and the Philippines.

The founder and chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) extolled the possibilities of the decentralized ledger on which bitcoin is based, but said that the digital currency itself might be driven by torrid speculation.

Ma made his comments after officially launching a blockchain-based remittance service with Standard Chartered PLC and GCash, Ant Financial’s venture with Philippine firm Globe Telecom Inc.

Bitcoin set an annual low on Sunday before bouncing back a tad, underscoring the volatility that stems from increased scrutiny by regulators even as global central bankers and business chiefs raise questions about its viability.

“Blockchain technology could change our world more than people imagine,” Ma told reporters in Hong Kong, home to a large population of Philippine workers and domestic helpers who send money home regularly. “Bitcoin however could be a bubble.”

Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba’s backed by some of the biggest names in global finance and investment, has explored blockchain technology for years, including to clean up China’s murky charities, but the remittance service marks one of the first instances of the Internet giant using the technology in mainstream finance.

Ma yesterday also took potshots at the traditional banking industry, saying financial institutions were overcharging for overseas payments.

Ant Financial, blocked from buying Moneygram International Inc, now wants to build something better and take blockchain-based remittances beyond just Hong Kong to the Philippines, Ma said without elaborating.

“Traditional financial institutions serve 20 percent of people and make 80 percent of profits. New financial institutions should service 80 percent of people and make 20 percent of profit,” Ma said.

This story has been viewed 5240 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top