Google Enters Blockchain: Does It Threaten Amazon, IBM, Microsoft?


You bet it does!

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is known for industry-shaking moves and “Big G’s” entrance this year into blockchain portends future services that take advantage of hyper-fast-growing market. It also puts the search giant on a collision course with IBM (NYSE: IBM), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) for future dominance of the industry.

People More Interested In Trustless Systems

As they say, “trust but verify.” But today, cryptocurrency enthusiasts want protocols that remove the need to trust at all. These are people who have seen Wall Street collapse the financial system; governments who debase the national currency; and so on.

At first glance, blockchain and Google are made for each other; an intersection of internet invention and peer-to-peer distributed systems. The world has moved on from central planning of the Cold War. Millennials and Generation Z demand trustless systems and that’s the mindset and culture by which Google must serve its emerging base of customers, or otherwise risk becoming a corporate dinosaur.

The search giant is the most disruptive company of the 2000s while blockchain, cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) are among the most exciting innovations in decades. Over the next five years, a few things would need to happen for Google to expand its blockchain services:

  1. A regulatory framework that clarifies the law for operators.
  2. Wider adoption of the above technologies so markets and opportunities continue to grow.
  3. Successful use-cases and applications to show what’s possible.
  4. Entrance of Wall Street and Main Street to add “fuel to the fire.”

BigQuery Rollout

Google’s recent rollout of Ethereum analytics tool BigQuery shows the Alphabet subsidiary is taking the blockchain seriously. BigQuery is a free explorer tool but in the near future, Google can easily charge subscription fees for a host of blockchain tools and platforms.

Imagine renting mining rigs from Google. Or paying with Bitcoin or Ethereum through Google Wallet. You get the idea.

BigQuery lets users analyze massive datasets — up to billions of rows — on the Ethereum blockchain by enabling SQL queries. Because such queries leverage Google’s massive infrastructure, they can be completed extremely fast. The free tool lets users access analytics and visualizations of aggregate data, leading to the discovery of valuable information about the Ethereum network such as average transaction costs, transaction times, network usage and smart contract analytics, to name a few.

Use Cases

For example, here’s a query showing the 10 most popular ERC-721 contracts, by number of transactions.

And here’s a visualization of Ether transfers and transaction costs for 2018.

Aside from BigQuery, the Ethereum blockchain dataset is also available on Kaggle’s no charge in-browser coding environment.

Better Decision-Making

So why is the search giant making blockchain data available on the cloud? It signals to blockchain developers and services that they might want to work with Google Cloud in the future — and not necessarily IBM, Amazon or Microsoft. These companies are also developing blockchain tools and services.

Google’s team said in an Aug. 29 blog that “[BigQuery] is useful for making business decisions, such as prioritizing improvements to the Ethereum architecture itself … to balance sheet adjustments (how quickly can a wallet be rebalanced?).”

According to the same blog, the team built a software system on Google Cloud that (1) synchronizes the Ethereum blockchain to computers running Parity in Google Cloud, (2) performs a daily extraction of data from the Ethereum blockchain ledger, including the results of smart contract transactions, such as token transfers, and (3) de-normalizes and stores date-partitioned data to BigQuery for easy and cost-effective exploration.

Bitcoin On BigQuery

Earlier this year, Google made Bitcoin’s dataset available on BigQuery. In July, Google partnered with distributed ledger technology (DLT) provider Digital Asset to make its blockchain platform and developer tools available on Google Cloud.

“We’re partnering with Google Cloud to provide developers with a full stack solution so they can unleash the potential for web-paced innovation in blockchain,” said Blythe Masters, CEO of Digital Asset in a July 23 press statement. “This will reduce the technical barriers to DLT application development by delivering our advanced distributed ledger platform and modelling language to Google Cloud.”

Articles by Marvin Dumont:

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article belong solely to the author. Information contained herein should not be construed as investment advice.

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