The chairman of Alibaba and one of China’s biggest financial conglomerates Ant Financial, Jack Ma has said that he has a special interest in Bitcoin and blockchain technology because of its potential for establishing a cashless society. According to Ma, the world is navigating toward becoming a society without physical cash movement.
The Chinese Example
China’s rapid technological advancement has created a situation where only a small fraction of the people use cash or credit cards to buy products, receive payment for work, or pay for utilities. With NFC-enabled smartphones, Alipay users in China can purchase coffee with a tap of a smartphone on sophisticated Point of Sale (PoS) terminals and instantaneously receive salaries from their employees through the app, without dealing with delays that often occur with wire transfers and inefficient banking services.
Ali Baba and Ant Financial are paving a path that will see China become the world foremost cashless society with people engaging in transactions involving basic human chores like buying groceries.
Ma further elaborated on this goal, explaining:
“I pay special attention to cashless society and blockchain technology. Mine and Alibaba’s job is we will move the world into a cashless society. The society can make everybody equal, inclusive to get the money they need, make sure it is sustainable and is transparent. I hate corruption. I don’t have opportunity is ok. But I don’t want somebody through a dirty way take away my opportunity. This is why we want a cashless society.”
Blockchain Technology as a Data Processing Platform
According to Ma, most financial networks at the moment require centralized databases to perform and record any transfers, thus blockchain technology is anything that offers a decentralized computing system that allows businesses to build on top of it - such as the Ethereum platform.
In his view, as the technology is adopted by the mainstream, and other companies start to use it as it is meant to be used, cryptocurrency will naturally become more important than ever.
Although Ma is still studying the fundamental value bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies bring to the market, he nonetheless emphasized that blockchain technology fundamentally is a powerful innovation that could enable a completely cashless society.