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Google Cloud formed a new group to build business around blockchain applications; now hiring a legion of blockchain experts to expand its business

  • After a concerted effort in retail and other industries, Alphabet's Google Cloud division is building a team to win blockchain business.
  • Dapper Labs, Hedera, and Theta Labs are among Google Cloud's blockchain customers.
  • In the future Google Cloud could accept payments in cryptocurrencies.

Following efforts to develop in retail, health care, and other industries, Google's cloud division has launched a group to build business around blockchain applications.

Success might help Google diversify its revenue streams away from advertising and into the booming market for computing and storage services provided by third-party data centres.

Decentralized applications, which are built without the use of major intermediaries, are frequently mentioned by blockchain proponents. DeFi (short for "decentralised finance"), in particular, is a fast expanding area of the crypto market that attempts to eliminate middlemen, like as banks, from typical financial operations such as receiving a loan.

Banks and attorneys are replaced with a smart contract, which is a programmable piece of code. This contract is written on a public blockchain, such as ethereum or solana, and it executes when specific criteria are met, eliminating the need for a middleman.

Decentralized apps have grown in popularity among programmers who foresee Web3, a decentralised version of the internet that differs from Web 2.0, which saw an explosion of user-generated content like blogs and social networks. Some of these services were subsequently purchased by significant internet companies, such as Google, which purchased Blogger and YouTube (which is now one of its strongest businesses).

By running huge facilities that offer computing services to millions of clients, Amazon, Google, and other cloud-computing providers now reflect a sort of centralization.

That isn't going to stop Google from attempting to profit from a situation.T he cloud company plans to hire a slew of people with blockchain expertise, said Richard Widmann, Google's cloud unit's head of strategy for digital assets.

"We believe that if we do our duties well, decentralisation will follow," he said.

Google's cloud marketplace already has blockchain customers such as Dapper Labs, Hedera, and Theta Labs, as well as exchanges, and it provides tools for developers to start developing blockchain networks. Google also provides data sets that individuals may use to view transaction history for bitcoin and other currencies using the BigQuery service.

Google is now evaluating what types of services it may provide directly to blockchain developers, Widmann said.

Widmann stated that there are "things we can do to ease the frictions certain clients have with paying for centralised cloud using cryptocurrencies." Cryptocurrencies are used to fund foundations and other businesses involved in the creation of digital assets, according to him.

Retail, health care, and three other industries have been chosen as target areas by Thomas Kurian, Google's cloud CEO. Google can assist consumers in those industries that choose to use blockchain technology, according to Widmann.

An explosion of crypto curiosity

Other cloud providers have been interested in cryptocurrencies as well, albeit only Google has declared the formation of a blockchain business group.Amazon Web Services, which will lead the cloud infrastructure market in 2020 with a 40.8 percent share, according to technology industry researcher Gartner, announced a managed blockchain service in 2018. Accenture, AT&T, and Nestle are listed as customers on the AWS website.

Microsoft announced a fully managed Azure Blockchain Service in 2019 but discontinued it in September, citing "reduced demand" in a blog post, according to Gartner.

The opportunity is also recognised by smaller cloud providers.

"We have a lot of blockchain and crypto customers on the platform," said Gabe Monroy, chief product officer of DigitalOcean, a small and midsize company hosting provider. "Over the course of 2021, it was one of our most significant cohort growth areas." We're clearly paying attention to the surroundings."

Software developers are now being catered to by cryptocurrency companies. Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange, has introduced a bevvy of services under the Coinbase Cloud brand, which it defines as "capable of running on different clouds."

At the JPMorgan Crypto Economy Forum in November, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong noted, "This is kind of like our AWS for crypto." "We're attempting to outsource some of the services we've had to develop." How do we store crypto, integrate all the blockchains, monitor transactions for AML purposes, do trading and staking, and all that?" "A lot of hard engineering has gone into how do we store crypto, integrate all the blockchains, monitor transactions for AML purposes, and do trading and staking and all that."

Meanwhile, the founders of Alchemy, a San Francisco start-up, stated that they aspire to be likened to Amazon Web Services in the blockchain realm. Alchemy revealed in October that it had raised $3.5 billion in venture capital.

In recent months, Google has become more at ease in the blockchain world.

Bloomberg reported last week that company veteran Shivakumar Venkataraman had taken control of a new blockchain group. According to a spokeswoman, this entity is distinct from the cloud team, which is focused on digital assets.

Widmann stated of other Google initiatives, "We're going to go to the left and right of ourselves to see if there are any potential to cooperate with them."

Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, claimed in a recent letter that the video service was inspired by Web3.

"The past year has emphasised a previously inconceivable chance to deepen the relationship between creators and their followers in the realm of crypto, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and even decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs)," she said.

In the third quarter, advertising accounted for almost 82 percent of Google parent Alphabet's income. On $4.99 billion in cloud revenue, Alphabet reported a $644 million operating loss, up nearly 45 percent. Gartner estimated that, Google will have a market share of 6.1 percent in 2020.