Alibaba Group Chairman and CEO of China’s $150 billion financial conglomerate- Ant Financial; Jack Ma has said in a recent speech that he pays special attention to Bitcoin and Blockchain technology, and the potential of establishing a cashless society.
Despite China’s tight regulations on blockchain and cryptocurrencies, interest of major industry stakeholders in the crypto industry still remains high. The CEO remarked that he is still studying the fundamental value of Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies as he believes blockchain technology is a powerful innovation that could enable a completely cashless society.
In his speech, Mr Ma opines:
I pay special attention to a cashless society and blockchain technology. Mine and Alibaba’s job is to move the world into a cashless society, a society that can make everybody equal, and inclusive to get money they need, make sure it is sustainable and transparent. I hate corruption and I do not want somebody to take my opportunity away. This is why we want a cashless society.
He further emphasized that he has not dismissed crypto or Bitcoin as a currency and a store of value but is still undecided as to whether Bitcoin brings in sufficient value to the society as consensus currency based on blockchain technology. In his words;
Bitcoin, the thing I want to know is what value, what things that Bitcoin can bring to the society but behind Bitcoin, the technology itself is really very powerful.
At this time, reports show that only a very small portion of China’s population uses cash or credit cards for making purchases, receiving salaries and settling utility bills. The country’s cashless payment drive has seen the use of non-fiat alternatives dominate its market space with payment applications like Wepay by Wechat and Ant Financial’s Alipay being most commonly used by residents.
The above options like Alipay, allow Chinese nationals make purchases through their NFC-enabled smart phones with a simple tap at Point of sale (POS) terminals across the country. Also employees can now receive their salaries through these apps without experiencing the delays which occur with traditional bank transfers and inefficient services.
However, for some enthusiasts the Alibaba CEO’s remarks are mere faux, as they raised doubts referencing his comments on ‘Bitcoin being a bubble’ earlier in the year; also they questioned the possibility of big Chinese companies and payment institutions to promote alternative payment via cryptocurrency as well as go against their government’s uptight restrictions. For others, Jack Ma’s opinions are an affirmation that crypto and blockchain potential are here to stay, just as they predict the Alibaba company could take initiative and expressly launch its own token in the nearest future.