Blog Crypto Google Crypto: Is Big Tech Coming For Blockchain and Web3?

Google Crypto: Is Big Tech Coming For Blockchain and Web3?

date August 22, 2022 time 5 min read 134 views

It might have been slow out of the “blocks,” but Google’s crypto involvement has been creeping up over the past year. Now, there’s talk that the big tech firm has its sights set on fueling major blockchains and becoming a major part of the transition to Web3. But will it come to fruition, and why is crypto so strategically important for Google?

Gone are the days when cryptocurrencies were the domain of tech geeks and rebels. These days, the technology is well and truly falling into the hands of Big Tech—over the last year, even the likes of Google has become more involved. The tech giant already has major partnerships with the likes of Coinbase and Gemini, and it looks like this is just the beginning of a larger masterplan.

Let’s look at exactly what Google has planned and why the blockchain world has become so interesting all of a sudden (hint: it’s all about Web3).

What is Web3—and why does it matter for Google?

To understand why Google cares about crypto, you have to understand the direction technology is going in. Recently, one key concept has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue: Web3.

It’s everyone’s favorite search engine, but will a Google blockchain become the new technological staple?
It’s everyone’s favorite search engine, but will a Google blockchain become the new technological staple? (Source: Unsplash)

Web3 gets its name because it’s set to be the third phase in the internet’s evolution. The first was the “read-only” web (where there were a few individual websites with minimal connections) and the second was an interconnected web that allowed users to create their own content and interact through social media platforms.

Most of us are so used to the internet being in stage two that it’s hard to imagine it ever changing, but that day is fast approaching. Web3 is set to be all about decentralization—a fight back against the level of control corporations have over our data now, promising to give us ownership and privacy. This would be made possible through incentives that encourage users to maintain the internet themselves rather than relying on third parties, just as users mine bitcoin instead of a third party overseeing everything.

To achieve this level of decentralization, we’d likely also be using cryptocurrencies as the preferred payment method and using blockchain-fueled applications to go about our business, whether that means gaming or banking. We’re not quite there yet, but many people can already conceptualize what Web3 might look like. And at this point, you might already be able to figure out why Google is getting spooked.

Why does it matter for Google?

With advertising revenue of almost $70 billion in the second quarter of 2022 alone and the owner of the world’s most popular browser and search engine, you could call Google the king of Web 2.0. And given that Web3 is set to be the next evolution, it’s not surprising the firm wants to secure its place as royalty in this next phase too. 

We already know this is a company that likes to remain on the cutting-edge. When the importance of social media started to become clear, it tried to launch its own network (remember Google+, anyone?) and purchased YouTube (which is a lot more successful). 

Google isn’t the only company thinking along these lines, either. As a tweet from the Binance founder showed, many of the top companies in the US are actively investing significant funds in the crypto realm, including the likes of Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo. 

In fact, Google is something of a latecomer compared to many of these companies. Co-founder Sergey Brin admitted a few years back that Google “failed to be on the bleeding edge” of everything crypto and blockchain. Considering it banned ads for cryptocurrency wallets from its ad network as recently as August 2021, it seems that the company waited until the dust had settled to make its move. But now the tide has finally turned, what should we expect?

Google’s crypto movements

Now you understand just how big a deal crypto and Web3 are for Google, its involvement should make a lot more sense. 

Google Pay already has partnerships that allow Coinbase and Gemini customers to use the app for crypto. What’s next?
Google Pay already has partnerships that allow Coinbase and Gemini customers to use the app for crypto. What’s next? (Source: Unsplash)

But what exactly does this involvement look like?

CEO of Alphabet Sundar Pichai said that: “”We are definitely looking at blockchain, it’s such an interesting and powerful technology with broad applications.” Above all, its interest seems to lie with wider blockchain ecosystems and decentralized applications, such as those that will fuel and be part of Web3. 

Cloud computing 

In January 2022, Google Cloud launched a new Digital Assets Team focused on blockchain, and it seems to want blockchain firms to use its cloud computing service. Google has claimed it has the “cleanest cloud in the industry” to launch blockchains on, which could help crypto projects to upscale more easily—something that has frequently been a challenge.

Plus, Google has hinted at intentions for Google Cloud to host a transaction history for major cryptocurrency protocols, such as the Ethereum blockchain.

But if you know anything about crypto and the meaning of decentralization, you might be scratching your head at the idea of a major centralized corporation controlling part of the blockchain. Some argue that partial decentralization would still be upheld in this case, but it’s still likely to be controversial.

NFTs

Although the cloud seems to be Google’s primary focus, the firm is also looking into NFTs—mostly at how they could tie into YouTube. Since many NFTs involve videos or GIFs of some kind, this seems like a natural step. After all, the viral YouTube video Charlie Bit My Finger ended up becoming an NFT that sold for more than $500,000.

Could the leading video sharing platform become a new hotspot for NFTs?
Could the leading video sharing platform become a new hotspot for NFTs? (Source: Unsplash)

However, considering that YouTube is very much a Web 2 platform, it will be interesting to see if the shift can be a success.

They’ve also quietly developed a comprehensive Arts and Culture hub, which includes an online catalog of the top art galleries and museums around the world. The more inquisitive of you can find a blank NFT page. 

It’s clear that Google is preparing for the Web3 era.

Cryptocurrencies

Google has outlined that it plans to offer cryptocurrencies through Google Pay in the future. The wallet app already has a partnership with Gemini that allows users to buy bitcoin through Google Pay, and similarly, it has joined forces with Coinbase to let users pay for items through their Coinbase ZCards.

Will it ever release its own Google cryptocurrency or Google blockchain? There are no concrete plans for this yet, but it wouldn’t be a huge shock considering other companies (such as JP Morgan) are heading in this direction.

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George Schooling

George Schooling

Earn up to 15% APY on your idle stablecoins (USDC, USDT)

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