Jack Ma has joined the bitcoin bashing brigade, although he remains keen on blockchain.
Ma, chairman of Alibaba and considered China’s richest man, said during the second World Smart Conference in Tianjin that bitcoin is a bubble, according to a local industry report. In the past, he has said he does not understand bitcoin but had not previously gone as far as calling it a bubble.
Like many other bitcoin bashers, Ma remains positive regarding blockchain technology. In his recent remarks, he said that blockchain is not a bubble, although he worries about all the people buying and selling blockchains.
Blockchain is not a big gold mine, he said, but a solution for solving data and privacy and security issues. The true value of blockchain is its ability to provide guarantees, not to make money. He said people should be asking what value blockchain can bring to consumers, businesses and government.
Ma, whose company does trillions of transactions, said he recognized blockchain’s importance when he learned it could solve security and privacy issues. Alibaba began researching the technology and has become the largest holder of blockchain patents, Ma said, while China is the country with the most patents.
When asked in November about bitcoin, Ma said he did not have much interest in it. Alibaba and Ant Financial were promoting a cashless society at the time.
In December of 2017, with bitcoin’s price at $15,000, many were saying bitcoin was a bubble. Interviewed by CNBC, Ma said he did not know if it was a bubble, but he against said he was not paying attention to it. He said he was still focusing on Alipay, the renminbi, the euro and the U.S. dollar.
Warren Buffett, for his part, recently referred to bitcoin as a “rat drug” on CNBC. Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has called transactional bitcoin immoral and bitcoin an artificial speculative medium.
Bill Gates has said investing in bitcoin produces nothing, so it cannot be expected to appreciate.
Other high profile bitcoin bashers include Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase CEO; UBS chairman and former Bundesbank president Axel Weber; former PayPal chief executive Bill Harris, Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard Group; and CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer.
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