Alibaba’s Jack Ma: Bitcoin is a bubble, blockchain is practical
According to 8btc, a cryptocurrency news site for the Chinese community, Founder and CEO of Alibaba Jack Ma has given his views on both blockchain and Bitcoin, speaking at the second annual World Intelligence Conference in Tianjin.
Ma, proclaimed as China’s richest man, stated that whilst he remains positive about the potential that blockchain technology can offer, Bitcoin is something that he would not endorse.
“There is no bubble for blockchain, but there's a bitcoin bubble,” Ma said, as cited by 8btc.
The statements back up similar comments from Ma that CNBC Shanghai reported in December of last year:
“I don't know about Bitcoin at all. I'm particularly puzzled. Even if it can really work, the rules of global trade and the financial system will be completely changed. I don't think we are ready. So I'm still paying attention to Alipay... to the US dollar, and the euro.”
“We have a team that studies blockchain, but Bitcoin is not something that I want to pursue. We don't care about Bitcoin.”
Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of Alibaba, has already began exploring the uses of blockchain technology, set to launch its blockchain-as-a-service solution this summer.
Further, according to fellow local news outlet The Paper, the CEO of Ant Financial Services, Eric Jing, called blockchain “the cornerstone of trust for the digital society in the future” earlier this year.
For more information on the ways in which blockchain is being used outside of cryptocurrencies, see Beyond cryptocurrency: Eight alternative uses of blockchain.
Start-ups receive $60 billion investment, smash 2020 record
Start-ups on the continent have raised a massive 43.8 billion euros ($60.9 billion) in just the first six months of 2021, according to figures from Dealroom, surpassing the record 38.5 billion euros invested last year..
This is despite the fact that the number of venture deals signed so far is around half the amount agreed in 2020. Only about 2,700 funding rounds have been raised so far this year, compared to 5,200 last year.
Prime examples in times of change
Examples are Swedish buy-now-pay-later firm Klarna which has raised more than $1.6 billion in two financing rounds, the German stock trading app Trade Republic received $900 million in May and British payments provider Checkout.com snapped up $450 million at the start of the year.
The figures suggest that European tech firms are pulling in far larger sums of money per investment than in previous years, which defies the economic uncertainty of the pandemic and boosted online services enormously.
The CEO of Checkout.com, Guillaume Pousaz, said start-ups have often been created in times of crisis, citing the emergence of several new financial technology companies in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.
He added that big transformational change was often the time when there is the emergence of a lot of new start-ups, sometimes when people are losing their jobs for associated reasons.
UK leading the charge
Scale-Up Europe, a group that includes the founders of UiPath and Wise, proposed 21 recommendations to help the region build “the next generation of tech giants.” Among the suggestions are tax credits to corporates for investing in start-ups and regulatory changes that adapt to new innovations.
Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna, said the U.K. leads Europe when it comes to tech policy, and that there were a number of regulatory issues needing to be addressed before the European Union can produce tech giants of its own.
Siemiatkowski highlighted EU regulation of web cookies as an example of “poor regulation.” Yet, as the number of $1 billion start-ups in Europe continues to grow, the number of exits in the continent is also increasing.
This year has already seen some notable acquisitions, including Etsy’s $1.6 billion purchase of U.K. fashion resale app Depop and JPMorgan’s takeover of London robo-advisor Nutmeg.
As for stock market listings, a number of notable debuts have taken place in London in particular, including food delivery app Deliveroo, cybersecurity firm Darktrace and reviews site Trustpilot. Money transfer giant Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, plans to go public in the U.K. capital soon.