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Bitcoin is ‘bubblish’ but blockchain attractive, Chinese investment banker says

  • Fan Bao, CEO of investment bank China Renaissance, told CNBC Wednesday that the world's biggest cryptocurrency was "getting a little bit bubblish"
  • Bao joked that if someone has invested in bitcoin, they would be "getting some good returns," but he expressed doubt about the virtual coin
  • The investment banker said he was a "strong believer in blockchain," the technology that underpins bitcoin

Bitcoin is not as attractive as the distributed ledger technology that underpins it, a Chinese investment banker has said.

Fan Bao, CEO of investment bank China Renaissance, told CNBC Wednesday that the world's biggest cryptocurrency was "getting a little bit bubblish."

"I think we have to separate bitcoin from the blockchain," Bao said. "I think blockchain is very exciting technology, probably the most disruptive technology in our industry, the financial services industry."

Blockchain is a decentralized database of transactions maintained across a network of computers around the world, rather than in one single location.

Bao joked that if someone has invested in bitcoin, they would be "getting some good returns," but he expressed doubt about the virtual coin.

The price of the cryptocurrency surpassed $6,100 over the weekend, reaching a fresh all-time high. It has been faced with much volatility over the last few months, falling as low as $3,766, before recovering significantly.

Concerns of a bubble

A number of top executives, including JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon and BlackRock's Larry Fink, have lambasted bitcoin in recent weeks.

In September, Dimon called the digital asset a "fraud" that would eventually "blow up." Earlier this month, the investment banker said he would refrain from commenting on bitcoin, only to scrutinize it again the next day.

Flint called the cryptocurrency an "index of money laundering" that same day, raising concerns over fraudulent activity.

China Renaissance's Bao said bitcoin was "just one application" of blockchain.

"Obviously, right now it's getting a little bit hot, like the weather outside, getting a little bit bubblish. I'm a strong believer in blockchain in terms of its wider application in our industry."

Various financial institutions have been getting increasingly involved in the technology.

IBM, for instance, said it has worked on a blockchain platform with several banks including BBVA, Bank Danamon and National Australia Bank. The network would be used to rapidly clear and settle cross-border payments, Big Blue said.

JPMorgan subsequently said it would launch a blockchain-based system that reduced the number of parties involved in verifying international payments. The investment bank partnered with Royal Bank of Canada and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group on developing the project.

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