Alibaba, the largest e-commerce merchant in the world, was speculated to have taken its first step toward embracing digital currencies by introducing a cryptocurrency mining platform, which was swiftly refuted by the company. A tweet by cnLedger, a Chinese crypto news account, reveals Alibaba’s potential plans to support P2P nodes in the near future.
If one were to go by the cnLedger tweet, Alibaba completed the registration process for its P2P nodes platform in October 2017. While no details on the platform are currently available in the public domain, it has been speculated that Alibaba may become more receptive toward cryptocurrency mining. Given that the company has one of the largest cloud platforms in the world, it could easily rent its computing resources to anyone looking to mine digital currencies.
Alibaba’s foray into mining could not come at a worse time, however, considering that it is based entirely out of China. The country has been known to be rather restrictive and tight-lipped over the topic of digital currencies since September 2017 when it cracked down on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and digital currency exchanges. Furthermore, reports recently emerged alleging that the People’s Bank of China was looking to shut down cryptocurrency mining operations throughout the country. While that story has since been debunked for the most part, it cannot be understated that China remains somewhat hostile towards the notion of cryptocurrencies in general.
Another disconcerting fact about this report is that Alibaba’s leader, Jack Ma, has not been open to the idea of supporting cryptocurrencies in any way, either existing or a new initial coin offering based on the company’s platform. In the past, when interviewed and asked about bitcoin, he has replied defensively and stated, “even if it works, the whole international rules on trade and financing are going to be completely changed.”
Alibaba’s past reluctance with respect to digital tokens is not to be confused with its fervor for blockchain technology though. The company has made several strides in the sector, with Jack Ma also often reiterating that new platforms and services surrounding the architecture are currently in development. When interviewed by CNBC in December 2017, he also stated that even though the company had spent abundant resources researching the benefits of blockchain technology, he did not find himself compatible with bitcoin and other digital currencies.
According to a statement made by Alibaba on Weibo on January 16, the P2P system in question refers to a Content Delivery Network (CDN) and not cryptocurrency-related P2P nodes. Furthermore, the company stressed that it has not issued a cryptocurrency similar to bitcoin, nor has it offered its Alibaba Cloud service to miners. Despite this statement, however, it is likely that the company backpedaled on some major decision as Alibaba’s P2P nodes website is no longer accessible, at least according to a recent tweet by cnLedger.