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Google will accept crypto payments through Coinbase

Starting in 2023, Google will begin accepting crypto payments for its cloud services through a partnership with Coinbase. 

The official announcement was made yesterday during Google’s Cloud Next conference, and was reported by CNBC

Cloud Next is a conference organized by Google to report on developments in the cloud sector. After all, for Alphabet, i.e., Google’s parent company, the cloud services business has now come to represent 9% of all revenue. Three years ago it was less than 6%. 

Some of Google’s cloud services customers are crypto companies, which is why, starting next year, the company has decided to give them the option to pay also using cryptocurrencies. 

Google partners with Coinbase to implement cryptocurrency payments

In order to offer crypto payments, Google has decided to use Coinbase Commerce, which is the solution offered by the well-known crypto exchange to integrate cryptocurrency payments on websites. 

Actually, this is not only an integration of Coinbase Commerce among Google Cloud payment methods, but a real partnership between the two companies. 

They are both US tech companies based near San Francisco, California, and both listed on the Nasdaq. 

Yesterday, while the Nasdaq 100 index was losing more than 1.2%, Coinbase’s stock gained 4.6 % thanks to this news, and Alphabet’s stock lost only 0.7 %. 

Through this deal, Coinbase will move its data-related applications from Amazon’s cloud to Google’s cloud. In addition, Google is exploring how to use Coinbase Prime, the exchange’s institutional-grade custody service. Indeed, the vice president and general manager of the Google Cloud platform, Amit Zavery, even stated that the company will also experiment with how to participate in crypto asset custody

The thing is that in order to host a cryptocurrency custody service on a cloud platform it must guarantee extremely high-security standards. Google Cloud actually already offers these, but not specifically designed to defend against attacks that aim to seize the private keys of wallets. 

Therefore, it is likely that specific solutions are being explored at Google to maximize the protection of cryptocurrency custody services hosted on their cloud, so much so that it seems likely that the partnership with Coinbase could also evolve into more than just a mutual collaboration. 

If Alphabet decides to enter the crypto sector, perhaps initially just as a dedicated partner of Coinbase, it is possible that it would want to do so in particular with respect to what concerns the provision of services aimed at cryptocurrency holders, or companies that themselves offer crypto services. Then again, Alphabet/Google’s technological infrastructure is unrivaled, being able to compete on a technical level even with Amazon. 

More so, enabling cryptocurrency payments puts Google in an advantageous position over its powerful rival because it will be the first major cloud service in the world to offer them.  

The giant Google is increasingly interested in the crypto market

These crypto payments will initially be enabled on Google Cloud Platform to only a handful of customers operating in the Web3 world. But Zavery said that over time the company will enable many more customers to make cryptocurrency payments.

Coinbase Commerce in all supports payments in 10 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Dogecoin (DOGE)

Google’s decision is not completely a first. In fact, the company has been trying to take some steps within the crypto sector for some time now, so much so that back in May it announced that they were exploring the possibility of accepting cryptocurrency payments. 

For example, one of the services being studied is one that would display the balance of Ethereum addresses directly on the search engine. 

This is a feature not yet active for all users worldwide, but being tested for some users in the US. 

From what can be guessed from some screenshots that have been posted on Twitter, when one searches Google for a public Ethereum address the search engine shows in the results data taken from Etherscan, and in particular the current balance. 

This new feature is shown within a new box called “Blockchain address.” 

It is not yet clear if and when it will be extended to all users, and to all blockchains, in part because there is no guarantee that it will be implemented. 

For example, for some time now, by searching for the name of a known cryptocurrency, Google shows as the first result its market price and a graph of its performance over the last 24 hours, extendable up to the time of listing. 

This feature has actually been available for a long time, which is ever since crypto markets were also added to the search engine’s financial data sources. 

But that is not all there is to it. In August it was discovered that Alphabet had already invested more than $1.5 billion in crypto and blockchain companies, thus revealing a clear and strong interest. 

For now, Google has not yet made any concrete significant moves to try to become a leading player in the crypto sector, but it seems to be doing a lot behind the scenes. 

Alphabet’s strategy

Alphabet’s approach does not appear to be that of a company that wants to force its way into this sector in order to somehow become a major player in it, as Meta tried to do when it was still called Facebook. Instead, Alphabet/Google’s approach is one that wants to provide its services also to crypto players, but without becoming a direct player in this sector. 

This is demonstrated by the collaboration with Coinbase, which sees Google becoming merely a crucial provider of traditional services to a company that in turn offers crypto services directly to the public. 

However, one should not be misled by this very soft approach, because as the $1.5 billion investment shows, the specific interest in these new technologies is there. 

Most likely, however, the Mountain View company has chosen not to expose itself too much, especially from a media standpoint, in order to avoid problems such as those that instead gripped Facebook after the announcement of the Libra project. 

Other industry giants such as Amazon and Apple have also chosen to keep their brands away from crypto services for now, but one has to imagine that they, like Google, are also working on something under the radar. For example, there have been talks of a possible Amazon stablecoin for years now, although after what happened to the Libra project one has to think that it is unlikely to come to light anytime soon. 

After all, cryptocurrencies are first and foremost a great innovation, in other words, a revolutionary technology that is bound to interest all those companies, such as Google and Amazon, that have made technological innovation their strong point. Indeed, even Tesla has taken an interest, although for now only for financial purposes. 

However, should cryptocurrency payments on Google Cloud be successful, it is entirely possible to imagine that in the future they could be enabled on Amazon as well, and this could act as a real trailblazer for mass adoption. 

Marco Cavicchioli
Marco Cavicchioli
Born in 1975, Marco has been the first to talk about Bitcoin on YouTube in Italy. He founded ilBitcoin.news and the Facebook group" Bitcoin Italia (open and without scam) ".