For Alibaba (BABA), the Chinese e-commerce behemoth with its sights set on global domination, the cryptocurrency world was never too far away. Alibaba recently launched a cryptocurrency mining platform called "P2P Nodes," according to a report by Coin Telegraph. (See also: 10 Companies Owned by Alibaba.)

As cryptocurrency fever has swept the world, more businesses have looked to get on board with the digital currency craze. And yet, Alibaba's new venture is not a cryptocurrency. So what exactly is P2P Nodes? And what does it mean for Alibaba and the business world?

Registration Done in October 2017

The registration for P2P Nodes was reportedly completed in October 2017. So far, not much is known about the operation, although Finance Magnates suggests it might be based on third-party mining. This might mean Alibaba will loan out space in its cloud platform for clients to mine cryptocurrency.

In some parts of the world, news of a major corporation like Alibaba venturing into cryptocurrency mining would be notable, but in China it is exceptional. Most news about digital currencies in China in the past several months have been negative.

The Chinese government has cracked down on digital currencies and exchanges, ostensibly to root out illegal activity and money laundering. Case in point: ViaBTC, one of China's largest cryptocurrency mining pools, recently shuttered due to regulatory concerns. (See also: China Intensifies Crackdown On Bitcoin Mining.)

Alibaba Leadership Skeptical of Digital Currencies

What's even more unusual about the news surrounding the new platform is that Alibaba leader Jack Ma previously expressed skepticism about digital currencies.

When asked his feelings on digital currency, Ma claimed to be "totally confused," explaining that "even if it works, the whole international rules on trade and financing are going to be completely changed."

At the same time, Ma – whose net worth tops $46 billion – was quick to praise the advent of blockchain technology, suggesting his company had already looked into ways to harness this tool.

What exactly the new Alibaba cryptocurrency mining platform will do remains to be seen. Similarly, there is no sign just yet that the e-commerce company is planning to launch its own digital currency. Still, when a company as massive and influential as Alibaba enters the digital currency space, the repercussions for cryptocurrencies everywhere could be huge. (See also: What's Next For Alibaba?)

Investing in cryptocurrencies and other Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or other ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns cryptocurrencies.

Want to learn how to invest?

Get a free 10 week email series that will teach you how to start investing.

Delivered twice a week, straight to your inbox.