"I don't really understand bitcoin".

The admission came during an event where world famous Chinese entrepreneur and billionaire Jack Ma was taking questions from the crowd.

But the speaker was not a novice with a hand up in the audience, it was Ma himself, best known as the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group; an e-commerce, retail, AI and technology conglomerate.

Ma admitted he did not understand bitcoin and how it could be valued. He also wanted people to know that it was okay to not understand bitcoin.

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"I'm not that big a fan of bitcoin," Ma told the crowd. "But I pay special attention to the cashless society; the blockchain technology.

"Behind the bitcoin, the technology is really powerful."

Ma said he dreamt of a cashless society, because it would help eradicate corruption and be more transparent. He found blockchain technology exciting, but said he was no expert on bitcoin and would not pretend to be.

It was the first time I had heard the admission. It was the opposite sentiment to that expressed by an Uber driver I rode with before Christmas who told me he was invested in Bitcoin along with a whole swag of other cryptocurrencies and that the blockchain was amazing and there was no way he could lose.


Hedge fund industry veteran Damien Hatfield of Triple A Partners was also excited about the technology.

"I have no idea whether the current price levels are sustainable and would suggest people are cautious," Hatfield said. "There is a lot of hype but is the very early stages of this technology and I can't see it going away in a hurry."

Currently, there are nearly 1400 cryptocurrencies in existence according to Coinmarketcap.com.

While the price of Bitcoin has passed $15,000, many popular cryptocurrencies are far cheaper and can cost less than a dollar.

But like Jack Ma with Bitcoin, the challenge is figuring out whether any of those prices are good value for the cryptocurrency they represent.

And while this is just about impossible, a good way to start looking for value in a cryptocurrency is checking whether it ticks five key boxes, according to Canstar general manager, wealth, Josh Callaghan.

The factors relate to the nature of the product, the brains behind it, the supply and demand, the market cap and the global online following.