Google Is Reportedly Experimenting With Blockchain Technology

Google seems to be working on the latest distributed ledger technology, that underpins the Bitcoin, to support their cloud business.

According to an unnamed sources who talked with the Bloomberg, the search engine company wants to head off the competition by creating their own shared ledger technology to validate transactions within their cloud based services.

Google And Blockchain

The company will form a blockchain that can be used internally in the company as well as the third parties can access to post and verify the transactions, said the unnamed source.

Google reportedly wants to use the blockchain technology in their cloud sector. For example, the shared ledger could be used to soothe clients and customers that their confidential data is safe and protected when stored in Google Cloud. Google has filed a patent application for a tamper-proof audition system backed by Blockchain technology.

The company was researching the distributed ledger technology but still there is a no official product to release, says Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s senior vice president of ads and commerce to CNBC.

“Like many new technologies, we have individuals in various teams exploring potential uses of blockchain but it’s way too early for us to speculate about any possible uses or plans."

A Google Spokeperson

Blockchain Technology Being Used By Other Tech Giants

Tech giant companies like IBM Corp, Microsoft, and Amazon AWS, are leading the pack of blockchain service providers.

Microsoft is working on its BAAS (Blockchain as a service) model on its Azure cloud platform since past two years. Morever, in August 2017, the company has announced a software named “Coco Framework” to help enterprises adopt blockchain.

An American tech giant company, IBM is also working on its own IBM Blockchain, a service build on the Hyperledger Fabric.

Amazon Web Services aka AWS admitted that the company is working on integrating blockchain technology. Amazon still isn’t working on its own service but they’ve launched a portal to help their customers. Continuing the suspense, Amazon has reserved many bitcoin related domains last year. It indirectly indicates their interest towards the cryptocurrency and the technology.

However, it is unclear what forms these new technologies will take and whether a top tech firm will successfully be able to make their blockchain based product mainstream.

How Bakkt Can Bring the Crypto Space an Institutional Investor Influx

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have for years been waiting for institutional investors to enter the space. While the introduction of bitcoin futures contracts on regulated exchanges in late 2017 didn’t gain a lot of traction, but Bakkt may.

Bakkt is a long-awaited bitcoin futures exchange and on-boarding platform from the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) - the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange – and it’s set to launch this year. Bakkt itself has remained tight-lipped over the precise launch date after delaying its launch last year, with ICE CEO Jeff Sprecher in February simply saying “later this year.”

It’s possible that this quarter may see the launch or at least more news about when the exchange is finally coming. At the end of March, Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler explained:

While we’re not yet able to provide a launch date, we’re making solid progress in bringing the first physical delivery price discovery contracts for bitcoin to the U.S.

Bakkt’s launch could be a major milestone for the cryptoasset industry. A venture backed by Microsoft and Starbucks, its institutional pedigree alone will switch many cautious investors on. Specifically, the firm is set to help consumers pay for goods and services with cryptocurrencies, with Starbucks being the flagship retailer in its arsenal.

Bakkt’s Bitcoin futures contracts will be the first physically-settled derivatives on a regulated trading platform. This means investors will receive the contract’s underlying asset, bitcoin, when it expires.

Currently the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) offers cash-settled bitcoin futures contracts, meaning investors get the equivalent of BTC’s value in fiat when the contracts expire. This is seen by some as a major development in the cryptocurrency space, as it shows traditional finance is willing to interact with the nascent cryptoasset industry.

It’s worth noting that earlier this year the ICE’s CEO called Bakkt a “bit of a moonshot bet,”  as it was organized in a way “very different than the way ICE typically does business.” The firm has its own offices and management team, and could undergo more rounds of financing in the future.

Bakkt And a Potential Bitcoin ETF

What’s significant about Bakkt’s launch beyond this, is that it may bolster the chances of a Bitcoin Exchange-Traded fund (ETF) being approved. Such a product would make it easier for institutional investors to gain exposure to cryptocurrencies.

In August, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected nine other ETF applications, in particular highlighting how those applying hadn’t provided evidence that “bitcoin futures markets are of significant size’” for an ETF to be launched.

Once Bakkt is launched its trading volumes may very well help quell the SEC’s concerns over the bitcoin futures markets’ small size as institutions and other investors may feel comfortable entering it. Larger futures contracts trading volume, increased liquidity and a well-established company involved may prove enough to convince the SEC that the time is right for a Bitcoin ETF.

Bakkt therefore represents a very significant milestone for a maturing cryptoasset industry and may well herald the “institutional influx” that many have been anticipating since 2017. Despite the markets remaining relatively flat throughout 2019 these looming decisions in the U.S. have the power to move the entire industry forward, for better or worse.