Chinese billionaire Jack Ma is increasingly warning about a bubble in bitcoin

Alibaba founder Jack Ma. (Photo by Wang He/Getty Images)
  • Billionaire Chinese tech mogul Jack Ma repeated his assertion that bitcoin is in a bubble.
  • While he is a strong advocate of blockchain technology, it’s the second time in a month that he said bitcoin looks overvalued.

Jack Ma — the billionaire founder of China’s online retail juggernaut Alibaba — is less than convinced about bitcoin’s value proposition.

Ma repeated his assertion that bitcoin may be in a bubble, in comments made at the launch of a blockchain-based remittance service.

The project will facilitate money transfers between Hong Kong and the Phillipines, and was launched by Gcash — a joint venture between the Alibaba-owned Ant Financial and the Philippines’ Globe Telecom — along with Standard Chartered bank.

According to Bloomberg, Ma told reporters at the launch that he believes in the potential of blockchain technology.

“Blockchain technology could change our world more than people imagine,” Ma said in Hong Kong. “Bitcoin, however, could be a bubble.”

Ma also critisiced banks for charging excessive fees on international transactions — a process which is a target for disruption by advocates of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

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

Ma’s latest views on bitcoin are almost a direct replica of comments he made last month at the World Intelligence Congress held in Tianjin, China.

According to the South China Morning Post, Ma said at the forum that “there is no bubble for blockchain, but there’s a bitcoin bubble”.

At that time, bitcoin was trading in a range between $US7-8000. The cryptocurrency faced more downward pressure in June and briefly dipped below $US6,000 over the weekend before rallying.

He added that blockchain represents a solution for security and privacy, as well as processing capabilitiies for the millions of transactions that Alibaba completes each day.

The SCMP reported that Alibaba made the most blockchain patent applications in the world last year with 43, ahead of Bank of America with 33.

Ma’s views are representative of the diverse opinions towards bitcoin among the world’s financial elite. Tech billionaire Peter Thiel believes in it, while Warren Buffett thinks it’s rat poison.

Meanwhile, venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz just announced the launch of a $US300 million fund to invest in crypto.

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