It is amazing what Google could do with blockchain. Distributed search engine that relies on distributed nodes and on distributed ledgers, distributed storage, no data centers, distributed clouds with immutable processing, flexibility of yet unreachable scale, ad tools of yet unreachable intelligence in targeting, a integration of google-ids offline, counteracting fake news and ranging tools to verify information by application of one of proofs, one of classic consensys mechanisms in distributed ledgers, perhaps, introduction of a loyalty token to reward for active search or for contribution of content.
However, as Forbes rightly noticed recently “Google, as one of the world’s leading technology companies, has been viewed as somewhat behind the eightball in the blockchain space. In comparison to IBM, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and the likes, Google is playing catch up.”
No wonder, decentralization aims to disrupt data monetisation, the core business of Google, by giving power over data back to data sources, that is to us.
However, recently we have witnessed the partnership announced between Google and Chainlink, a blockchain startup that provides on ramps and off ramps for information necessary to run self-executing code called smart contracts.
The word partnership here would a cause a wry smile, if not Chainlink’s technology had already not been in use by SWIFT to create secure communication channels between blockchain platforms and off-chain data networks. Chainlink is decentralized oracle network that securely connects smart contracts to external data sources and various payment networks. Several days ago, Stake.fish, a prominent validator for proof-of-stake blockchains, was chosen as a Chainlink “Reviewed Node Operator”.
In effect, Google is building its own blockchain infrastructure, most likely with aim to be public and with the ability to execute smart contracts. Clear link may be drawn between these efforts and the opening in the start of 2019 of APIs to develop with Google tools to ethereum developers.
Only a year ago, Google was part of the ban of blockchain and crypto- related keywords as adwords in the campaign, also supported by Facebook and Twitter.
In the same time, Blockchain.com, one of the largest crypto related facilities, have used Google Cloud Platform to support bitcoin, ethereum and other major cryptocurrencies.
Also, Google VP Ad, Shridhar Ramaswamy, confirmed in May 2018 that he has a small team looking for ways to apply distributed technologies to various digital products and services by Google. He toned it down, however, adding that it was still “a research topic”.
There are recurrent rumours, that were recently splashed out to the public that all major tech giants are developing their own currency. On the background of Libra by Facebook, the Winklevoss twins told CNBC of GoogleCoin.
Of the four giants, subjects to this review, only Amazon has a working blockchain that they offer to customers for slightly under 2 dollars an hour, it was launched in April 2019, it is called Amazon Managed Blockchain, in the framework of Amazon Web Services. Here a client may “easily and efficiently’ setup and manage a blockchain network. Hyperledger Fabric is an open option, Ethereum is promised soon. In essence, Amazon Managed Blockchain is a cloud blockchain as a service. Cointelegraph called it a quasi-blockchain solution.
Another, somewhat less known blockchain product by Amazon is Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB). It is an audit journal, with a certificate authority managed by Amazon, whose authority becomes the transaction coordinator.
“You tell Amazon what the transaction is, and Amazon stamps the transaction with journal notes” , ITProToday comments.
In July 2019, Amazon was member to a large group of multinationals who invested in a ventures incubator for blockchain related initiatives, IDEO Colab.
Another major event now is that United States-based payments startup Fold made Lightning Network (LN) payments possible at Amazon (as well as at Starbucks, Uber and other big name retailers). The Bitcoin (BTC) Lightning Network is a second-layer solution to bitcoin’s scalability limitations and speed, opening payment channels between users that keep the majority of transactions off-chain.
Also, in July 2019 Amazon has started accepting bitcoin to its Amazon Prime shoppers. Some crypto related businesses, such as Moon and Purse, offer discounts and loyalty privileges for purchases in BTC.
Amazon has also announced it is going to up-school 100,000 employees, inter alia, in blockchain.
Amazon has entered into partnerships with a number of known blockchain firms, such as R3 and Consensys.
Amazon has been granted a patent for various techniques to build a proof-of-work (PoW) cryptographic system similar to those used by blockchains such as bitcoin. First filed in December 2016 and awarded Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the patent outlines how Merkle trees can be generated as a solution to a proof-of-work challenge, among other benefits. The patent also mentions “cryptographic key,” “digital signature” and “public signing key,” among other concepts related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The patent does not directly discuss blockchains or cryptocurrencies.
A lot was written about the recent attempt by Marc Zuckerberg to swallow the world, with his Libra. Apparently, the world is too big even for his greed. At the time of the press, the US Government holds back. Rear good cause, I say. And I dare not share what Facebook could achieve with blockchain, better Facebook does not know, even though it is quite obvious. The greed blights.
In the meantime, people start realising the danger of having the platform and the data in the same hands. Several interesting, blockchain based projects develop rapidly to tumble Facebook dominance in social media. Minds, BAT, Solid (the latter by the inventor of www).
The plans for world dominance came to life in January 2019 with purchase of a British blockchain startup, Chainspace.
Already in May, Mark moved one of his main team members, the Head of Facebook Messenger, to lead the new blockchain practice, that is now, as we all know, called Libra.
Mr David Marcus, ex Paypal exec, came up with amazingly weak answers at the special hearing on Libra at the US Senate.
Facebook was not known to be a blockchain friendly company before. In 2018 the social network lead the ban on blockchain and crypto related keywords to be used in advertisements on the platform.
Apple is much more then a company, Apple brought us a whole range of most advanced capitalists of our times. Steve Wozniak, one of Apple’s founders, has recently invested in Efforce, a blockchain startup in energy trading. In 2018, Wozniak joined EQUI Global, a venture capital fund built using blockchain technology, as a co-founder.
A blockchain smartphone, that requires no service provider, but is connected through a blockchain, have so far proven to be too revolutionary idea, even for Apple.
Apple itself is involved in a murky story where a SEC filing was identified that the document points to the blockchain guidelines at the Responsible Minerals Initiative at the Responsible Business Alliance Foundation, where Apple’s “interest” is mentioned to safeguard against “a minerals conflict”. The organization, which is partially sponsored by Wal-Mart, has created a blockchain that can be used to track resources.
Also, this year’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) the company is set to announce the release of “CryptoKit;” a cryptography-oriented tool kit for Apple developers. While the iPhone-maker avoids mentioning the magical words ‘blockchain’ and ‘cryptocurrency,’ it sure sounds like the new tool might have something to do with it. CryptoKit will be made available in the upcoming iOS13 update. The cryptography tool set will let developers “compute and compare cryptographically secure digests, use public-key cryptography to evaluate digital signatures, and to perform key exchange,” according to documentation from Apple. The CryptoKit will also be able to “carry out operations like hashing, key generation, and encryption.”
In May 2019, Bluewallet, one of the more popular lightning network wallets, launched their new app for Apple Watches that allows users to receive bitcoin over lightning payment technology. However, earlier, in 2014 Apple is known to have removed bitcoin wallets from its Apple Store.
At present, larger plans by Amazon towards blockchain, if any, are largely unknown. Internal corporate info was leaked that in the end of 2018 of the meeting of Apple’s internal committee with the blockchain team. The inclusion of the blockchain team in this meeting has to lead many to assume and think that maybe the main aim of this meeting was somehow related to blockchain technology. No further details were released.