HONG KONG • Billionaire Jack Ma has declared Bitcoin a potential bubble, reiterating his caution over the volatile cryptocurrency as his Ant Financial Group Services yesterday launched blockchain-based money transfers between Hong Kong and the Philippines.
The founder and chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd extolled the possibilities of the decentralised ledger on which Bitcoin is based but warned that the digital currency itself may be driven by torrid speculation. Ma made his comments after officially launching a blockchain-based remittance service with Standard Chartered plc and GCash, Ant’s venture with the Philippines’ Globe Telecom Inc.
Bitcoin set a 2018 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 the former British colony, home to a large population of Filipino 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.