Jack Ma: Blockchain will be meaningless tech if it fails green, inclusive test

Can it, along with the Internet of Things, promote the transformation of the manufacturing industry and greener, more inclusive societies?

Blockchain and other disruptive technologies still need to prove their green and ethical credentials, according to Alibaba Group’s Co-founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma.

Speaking at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in China, he said:“The data age is a major opportunity for manufacturers to reform industry. But blockchain and IoT will be meaningless tech unless they can promote the transformation of the manufacturing industry, and the evolution of societies towards a greener and more inclusive direction.”

Stepping down

Last week Ma announced plans to hand the reins of his e-commerce empire to CEO Daniel Zhang.

In a letter to customers, employees and shareholders, he said he will continue as Executive Chairman of the company over the next 12 months to “ensure a smooth transition of the chairmanship to Mr. Zhang”. He will also complete his current term as a member of Alibaba Group’s board of directors until its annual general meeting of shareholders in 2020.

The former English teacher, 54, is looking to focus on philanthropy in education. Ma, who founded Alibaba in 1999 and stepped down as Chief Executive in 2013, is China’s third richest person with a net worth of $36.6 billion according to Forbes magazine.

Blockchain patents

Coin Rivet recently reported that Alibaba had nabbed the top spot, ahead of IBM, on a new iPR Daily list that ranks global organisations by the number of blockchain-related patents they’ve filed.

The media outlet used data up until 10th August from across China, the EU, America, Japan and South Korea, and also consulted the International Patent System from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Alibaba filed 90 blockchain-related patent applications and IBM was close behind with 89. In third place was Mastercard (80) followed by Bank of America (53). Next up was People’s Bank of China (PBoC), which has filed a total of 44 patent applications around its central bank digital currency project

Blockchain payments patent

In July, Alibaba filed a patent for the use of blockchain technology in speeding up international payments.

The application, ‘A System and Method That Adjusts Account Balance on a Blockchain’, proposes a system that facilitates cross-border transactions directly involving third party vendors.

Alibaba is currently involved in projects in such sectors as food, healthcare and supply chain. And it recently announced that AlipayHK, a digital wallet JV between Ant Financial, of which Alibaba owns 33%, and CK Hutchison Holdings, had teamed with payment service platform GCash for the launch of a cross-border remittance service based on blockchain technology.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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