Crypto Supporter Joseph Tsai Excited to Revolutionize Alibaba as Chairman

Crypto Supporter Joseph Tsai Excited to Revolutionize Alibaba as Chairman

On Tuesday, Alibaba announced that Joseph Tsai, one of its co-founders, will assume the position of Chairman in September.

Key Points 

  • Alibaba co-founder Joseph Tsai, who has expressed support for cryptocurrency, is set to become the company’s chairman.
  • Tsai has been an active Web3 investor and has publicly declared his interest in cryptocurrency on social media.
  • Tsai is currently an executive vice chairman at Alibaba and the owner of the Brooklyn Nets.

In a surprising move, Alibaba announced on Tuesday that Joseph Tsai, one of the company’s founders, will take on the role of Chairman starting this September. This change in leadership coincides with the company’s recent decision to split into multiple units, separating its technology services from its retail divisions. 

While this reorganization may seem like a straightforward business decision, those invested in the China narrative surrounding cryptocurrency are paying close attention. Tsai is a well-known supporter of crypto and an active investor in Web3. With someone of his caliber at the helm of one of China’s largest institutions, some believe this could be a sign that Alibaba is preparing to embrace the new reality of Web3 and crypto in China, if and when that day arrives. Only time will tell, but this move has certainly caught the attention of many in the industry.

Joe Tsai Fond of Crypto

In December of 2021, Joseph Tsai tweeted a simple statement: “I like Crypto.” While he didn’t go into detail at the time, over the following year, he’s made it clear that he’s more than just a casual observer in the Web3 space. As an active investor, Tsai has been putting his money where his mouth is.

As it turns out, Tsai’s family office, Blue Pool Capital, was actually a minority shareholder in FTX. This was only revealed in court documents, long after the fact. But Tsai’s involvement goes beyond just a few secretive investments. He’s been putting his resources behind some better-known ventures in the Web3 world.

For example, he participated in Polygon’s funding round in February of 2022. He also supported Fast Break Labs, a fantasy sports platform in the Web3 space. And perhaps most notably, he was involved in Artifact Labs’ May 2023 round. 

The Brooklyn Nets, a renowned NBA basketball team, owned by Tsai, have also found themselves intertwined with the world of cryptocurrency. Two of the team’s star players, Kevin Durant and Spencer Dinwiddie, have dabbled in the digital assets. Durant has inked a promotional deal with Coinbase (COIN) in addition to a two-year agreement with Dapper Labs. Meanwhile, Dinwiddie has gone as far as tokenizing his employment contract and even spoke on the topic at a conference

China’s Stance on Crypto 

China’s stance on cryptocurrency is quite a topic of debate. While some believe that the country is warming up to the idea, others remain skeptical. Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China, has proposed a set of crypto regulations that would allow licensed trading of digital assets in the area. However, critics argue that these rules are overly restrictive and will deter serious investors from entering the market.

According to Leo Weese, Co-founder and President of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong, the current framework in Hong Kong is unattractive due to a small and unproven market, lack of banking partnerships, and highly restricted products. Despite pressure from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, banks have been hesitant to work with crypto clients.

In other parts of China, digital assets on the blockchain are accepted as long as they are not cryptocurrencies. For example, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are permitted, but only if they do not have any speculative attributes. In 2021, Alibaba’s Alipay even imposed a restriction on the sale of NFTs, requiring users to hold them for 180 days before selling.

End Note

Tuesday marked a significant announcement from Alibaba, as co-founder Joseph Tsai is set to take on the role of Chairman come September. This shift in leadership is likely to have a considerable impact on the tech giant moving forward. It remains to be seen what impact it will make on china crypto space. The future of cryptocurrency in China remains uncertain, with different regions of the country adopting different approaches. While Hong Kong is attempting to regulate crypto trading, many are concerned that the current restrictions will only discourage serious investors.