Google Working On Blockchain Research Projects

March 22, 2018

Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s senior vice president of ads and commerce, has revealed that the company is researching blockchain technology to support its cloud business and head off competition from emerging tech startups.

Speaking at the Advertising Week Europe conference in London, Ramaswamy said Google is working on research projects to figure out ‎if it can incorporate blockchain technology, but had no official product announcements to make.

“It is super early ‎for us to say whether they are going to become products just yet,” Ramaswamy said. “‎We don’t have really any product announcements to make on this ‎front. We have a small team that is looking at it. The core blockchain ‎technology is not something that is super-scalable in terms of the ‎sheer number of transactions it can run.”

Ramaswamy stated that the “frictionless” nature of the technology has applications in money transfer. “The promise of blockchain of course is twofold: one is friction-free value transfer, you can think of it as money transfer working at scale with no friction and that can have an amazing effect on society, because it’s hard to move money. It always costs 2ish percent in most Western countries to move money.”

Citing sources familiar with the situation, Bloomberg reported that Google started a trial for developers testing blockchain services on its cloud in 2016. The company is now exploring much more expansive ways to deploy the technology. Google is reportedly developing its own distributed digital ledger that third parties can use to post and verify transactions. The company plans to offer this to differentiate its cloud service from rivals. Google will also provide a white-label version that other companies can run on their own servers.

Google’s parent company Alphabet is one of the most active investors in blockchain companies, according to a report published by CB Insights in October. It has investments in the blockchain company itself, as well as in Ripple, a company that is working on money transfers using blockchain technology.

While Google is interested in blockchain technology, it has recently been less cryptocurrency-friendly. Last week, Google announced that it will ban ads for cryptocurrencies and “speculative financial products” across its advertising platforms starting in June.

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