Alibaba to Embrace the Blockchain But “Draws Line at ICOs”

Alibaba to Embrace the Blockchain But “Draws Line at ICOs”

From Kodak to Telegram, it seems that everyone is trying the ICO route these days. However, one Chinese giant has “drawn a clear line” on the issue and won’t be participating.

According to The Paper, a news agency with close ties to the Chinese government, Jing Xiandong, CEO of Ant Financial, more commonly known as Alibaba’s financial arm, has said that though blockchain will be integral to the future economy, he has ruled out the use of the ICO model for any aspect of his own business. This brings the company in line with the notoriously anti-ICO stance of the Chinese government.

“Rampant speculation”

We are the most patented company in the world of blockchain technology,” he said, “but I don’t think we will have anything to do with an ICO.

For Jing, the sector is full of “rampant speculation”, reminiscent of “the internet bubble period in the 1990s“, and the company “has drawn a clear line with ICOs.”

Extending the parallel with the internet bubble, Jing believes that the blockchain world is due a major correction, with the current “bubble” due to burst in the next couple of years. Post-correction, only the genuinely useful applications will survive, or be developed, as was seen with the internet giants like Amazon and Google.

Ant Financial is the parent company of AliPay, the payment arm of the Alibaba Group, China’s biggest online commerce company. As of 2013 Alipay is the world’s largest mobile payment platform and has 300 million users.

Jing’s comments come alongside the news that China was last year the world leader in blockchain patent applications. Of the 406 patent applications worldwide, more than half were from China. Alibaba was the second most significant Chinese applicant with 43 patents pending; the People’s Bank of China leads the list with 68.