According to news from CoinDesk, citing comments Eric Jing, the CEO of Ant Financial, made at the China Development Forum this past weekend in Beijing, Jing said a lot of the enthusiasm surrounding blockchain stems from speculation about the idea of blockchain. He believes ICOs provide investors with nothing more than a bad white paper.
“The current phase is like the internet bubble period in the 1990s,” Jing said. “Ant Financial has drawn a clear line with ICOs.” CoinDesk cited The Paper, a Chinese media source, as saying that Jing thinks blockchain will be a trust mechanism for a society that is digital and that the current bubble in cryptocurrency and blockchain will likely pop in the coming two to three years. Once that is past the market, then real blockchain applications will emerge.
As for what Ant Financial is doing with blockchain, Jing reportedly said the company is focused on cross-blockchain compatibility. The comments from Ant Financial’s CEO could be market-moving, given the fact that the company is becoming a formidable player in the world of finances and lending. According to a recent report from Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, Ant Financial’s lending division, which provides loans to consumers through its Huabei and Jiebei units, has doubled since the start of 2017 until March 2018. The uptick in consumer lending comes as the Chinese government is lowering quotas for new asset-backed securities that enable these loans to be issued. The loans can have annual interest rates of as much as 15 percent, although a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg the interest rates on the loans are typically less than 15 percent.