There is a company that stands out from all the rest when it comes to blockchain technology (patents in particular). It's China's and Jack Ma's Alibaba (BABA). It's the industry leader on blockchain patents, and they are proud of it. “We are the most patented company in the world of blockchain technology,” said Jing Xiandong, CEO of Alibaba ’s financial arm called Ant Financial.
Alibaba's abundant blockchain patents
406 new patents were granted to blockchain technologies last year. Alibaba had forty-three and was second only to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) who had sixty-eight. Alibaba's new blockchain patents included advances in utility, design, and invention.
That proves how significant an effort is being done by many internet giants in moving the blockchain technology forward through innovation. Among the most interesting Alibaba project is The Ant Financial blockchain 2.0 created and released by Ant, which is Alibaba's financial subsidiary. It's evolved from the initial 1.0 platform to become open, self-operated and decentralized.
But Alibaba is seriously involved with the blockchain in other ways too, not just by filing patents. The company seems to know the cryptocurrency technology and ecosystem a lot better than other firms who are also taking it seriously.
The Chinese giant e-commerce firm has also been able to score some very serious points for the blockchain adoption, blockchain innovation and its blockchain partnerships.
Blockchain tech: They way to guarantee a transparent supply chain
Firms and organizations around the world are trying to find out what the blockchain technology can do for them. Just last week Facebook announced a new team of essential executives would be exploring the benefits the blockchain could report to them.
The most obvious advantage is the transparency it brings to the supply chain. The blockchain has many useful real-world applications from fighting lousy labor conditions along the supply chain to recording transactions and fighting counterfeiting.
Alibaba is at the forefront, it's a pioneer, and it's a leader. They won't lose the gains they stand to make by adopting the blockchain. In just practical terms they've been using the blockchain to secure medical data, fight food fraud and track cross-border shipments which are their bread and butter.
Alibaba's subsidiary, Lynx international, has integrated the blockchain tech to track their logistic services across borders. This allows them to keep an incredibly solid record of all the shipments. Third-party verification, customs, transportation, production, it's all there.
“Although the concept of blockchain has only recently started to emerge, it has an extensive range of applications,” said Lynx' technical director, Mr. Tan Ren. Regarding transparency, security, and logistics the advantages of the blockchain for a company such as Lynx can't possibly be overemphasized.
So it's really just a natural move for Alibaba to go for the blockchain bigtime. Another of Alibaba's firms, T-Mall, partnered with Cainiao to adopt the very same blockchain technology to ensure the functionality of their cross-border supply chains in just the same way Linx is using it to track shipment information across more than fifty different countries.
Alibaba fights counterfeit food with the blockchain
Two years ago IBM declared a collaboration with some of the planet's most important food producers and distributors. Names like Walmart, Unilever, Tyson Foods, Nestle, McCormick, Golden State, and Dole were in the mix. Alibaba joined quickly.
The Chinese giant already had a deal with Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) to fight China's security challenges. This originated the "Food Trust Framework" that will be a partnership among many firms that will use the blockchain to track every product from producers to consumers.
Alibaba, the Chinese government, and healthcare
Aiming to enhance China's healthcare, starting from Changzhou (Alibaba's home city). Once again, Alibaba used the blockchain's advantages to make things work. They are partnering up with the Chinese government so that both of them can come up with a “trusted environment for transactions.”
Alibaba's blockchain will allow for medical records to be shared with doctors efficiently.
Alibaba publishes their "BASIC" strategy paper
BASIC is an acronym for “Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Security, Internet of Things and Cloud Computing.” That is Alibaba's strategy, that how it's dealing with new technology, including the blockchain. This guide was published last October 2017 at a computing conference.
From Alibaba's point of view, Bitcoin and other crypto coins are not the way to go. They love and support the technology but not the coins and currencies.
Even if they are leaders in developing the blockchain technology they seem to have no room or tolerance for the currencies themselves. It seems this comes directly from billionaire Jack Ma who is passionate about the technology but has little patience for the coins.
Lynx's Jing followed the boss' line when he declared that the alt-coin industry is just rampant with speculation in the way the 1990's internet bubble was. He was very clear that the company “[had] drawn a clear line with ICOs.”
Mr. Ma has not been very optimistic about Bitcoin or any other crypto coin. He is concerned about the cryptocurrencies' prospects and, unlike competitors like JD and Tencent, he doesn't seem very open to the idea.
He's been quoted as saying “I said honestly, I know very little about it, and I’m totally confused. Even if it works, the whole international rules on trade and financing are going to be completely changed.”
We can't possibly take that statement at face value; we think Mr. Ma knows a lot more than he admits. But it's more or less clear that he is just being realistic because of China's hard stance about cryptocurrencies.
“We should be cautious about bitcoin. Its underlying technology, however, is really powerful. I pay more attention to a cashless society and the blockchain technology. And I am not shameful that I don’t know about bitcoin.” Jack Ma.
Alibaba's mining platform that did not happen
It was unexpected to find out last October that Alibaba was creating virtual crypto mining nodes. But the firm was quick to smash such hopes through Weibo (a microblogging platform) making it clear that the nodes are there to serve the company's business, not to mine currencies.
Alibabacoin, the token and the ICO
The coin obviously has a name too similar to Alibaba's, but it has nothing to do with it. Actually, the only way you could link the currency and the company is through a lawsuit which only proves its an entirely different thing.
The currency, which is supported by the ABBC Foundation is having an ICO crowdsale to promote their token, and they are facing lots of questions about their coin's name. They've been forced to admit they have nothing to do with Alibaba, of course, in any way at all.
Alibaba's lawyers don't think so. They are going against the Alibabacoin Foundation and four other parties because they believe they've been cheating the public by using Alibaba's trademark.