Web2 giant Google (Alphabet) has taken another significant step into the Web3 space today, announcing a strategic partnership with US-based crypto exchange Coinbase. The collab will see Google accept cryptocurrency as payment for cloud computing services starting in early 2023.
According to a joint statement, the deal between the two companies will also see Coinbase use Google Cloud as its provider for building out services related to its exchange and data processing. Google will also begin hosting Coinbase’s infrastructure, as well as offering Coinbase users AI-driven analytics into digital asset markets. Additionally, Google will use Coinbase Prime for institutional crypto services such as custody of digital assets and the reporting of transaction data.
Beyond facilitating payments and hosting services, the partnership will allow Web3 developers to access Google’s crypto-related datasets. This in turn will power Coinbase nodes across major blockchains. The integration of these services means that blockchain developers can begin to operate Web3-based systems without the need for expensive and complex infrastructure.
The move provides further evidence that Google – widely regarded as one of the most significant tech companies in the world – has Web3 and blockchain technology firmly in its long-term plans.
Google partners with Coinbase for Web3 supremacy
In simpler terms, Google’s Web3 framework is becoming increasingly clear – regardless of how Web3 develops moving forward, it wants to host the infrastructure that the burgeoning industry is built upon.
Speaking to attendees of September’s Mainnet crypto-summit in New York, Google Cloud’s Head of Web3 Strategy Richard Widmann described Google as being the “layer zero” of Web3.
This entails Google actually owning the cloud network that programmable blockchain infrastructure (also referred to as Layer one blockchains) such as Ethereum (ETH) and Avalanche (AVAX) are built upon.
Speaking to this point, Widdman used the Avalanche Network (AVAX) as a contrasting example claiming that despite popular opinion, AVAX isn’t actually a layer zero blockchain because it still runs on subsidiary computing networks it doesn’t own:
“Any layer one protocol is running compute containers, generally on a cloud of some kind … Avalanche doesn’t have a cloud business. They run on data centres, just like every other layer one.”
Widmann additionally revealed that he is working to “build a massive bridge” between Web3 companies and blockchains by providing node services through Google Cloud, something that this recent announcement with Coinbase proves valid.
More recently, the company’s search engine also quietly introduced a feature that allows users to see how much ETH wallets hold when entering an Etheruem address into Google’s search bar.
Google’s hints at entering the Web3 space trace as far back as September 12, when the tech company introduced a countdown timer for Ethereum’s Merge event, complete with an obscure reference to a panda meme popularised by Ethereum commentator Anthony Sassano.