For the second time in as many months, bitcoin has received another negative assessment from Alibaba Group Holdings Co. (BABA) Chair Jack Ma.
Even as he praised blockchain’s capability to revolutionize the world, Ma said bitcoin may be a bubble. “Blockchain technology could change our world more than people imagine. Bitcoin, however, could be a bubble,” he told journalists while launching a blockchain-based money transfer service between the Philippines and Hong Kong by Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial services arm.
At the conference, Ma stated that the service’s goal was to eventually cut down remittance costs to near zero between the two places. Alibaba had attempted to acquire money transfer service MoneyGram earlier but the $1.2 billion was blocked by the U.S. government over security concerns. Speaking about the aborted transaction, Ma said his firm’s intention was to “overhaul it (MoneyGram) to help people all over the world” by lowering expensive transaction fees for money transfers. “Due to reasons from the U.S. our deal with MoneyGram did not succeed, so I said, ‘let’s make one better [than MoneyGram]’ that uses the most advanced technology,” he said.
This is not the first time that Ma has described bitcoin as a bubble. In an earlier instance, he told journalists that bitcoin was “just a tiny application” of blockchain and that his company would not be using the cryptocurrency as a payment mechanism anytime in the future. The company was reported to have started a cryptocurrency mining platform back in January. (See also: Alibaba Is Launching Crypto Mining Platform.) It shot down those reports, however, stating that the peer-to-peer nodes referred to in news stories were actually to be used for content delivery for its streaming services.
Since the start of this year, bitcoin has been on a downward slide. The cryptocurrency’s price has slid down by more than 50 percent due to a raft of criticism by governments and prominent economists, regulatory action, and massive selloffs by large holders of the cryptocurrency. Still, analysts have forecast better tidings as the year progresses. For example, Thomas Lee of Fundstrat predicts a price point of $25,000 for the cryptocurrency by the end of this year.
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