Photo: Reuters/Bobby Yip

Blockchain will be the cornerstone of trust for the future digital society, said Jing Xiandong, CEO of Ant Financial, but that future will not include Initial Coin Offerings, which he dismissed as an act of getting something from nothing, The Paper reported.

Jing, who heads up the fintech arm of Alibaba, emphasized that the company will draw a clear line on ICOs. “So far we are the most patented company in the world of blockchain technology, but I don’t think we have anything to do with ICO,” said Jing.

ICO is a controversial means of crowdfunding centered around cryptocurrency, which has been used as a source of capital for some startups.

According to Jing, the core of blockchain is to create a multi-party trust system, though such technology has not found its way to be commercialized yet. In some ways it also looks similar to the Internet bubble of the 1990s.

Jing, who remains cautiously optimistic about the technology, said it is very likely that the blockchain will usher in a burst of bubbles and real values will begin to emerge gradually.

Jing also expects that in the next two to three years, there may be a large-scale outbreak of blockchain applications.