On Monday (23 July 2018), just ahead of the Google Cloud Next ’18 conference (24–26 July 2018) in San Francisco, Google finally entered the blockchain space by announcing on its blog that it was partnering with two blockchain startups—Digital Asset and BlockApps—to bring Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) solutions to its Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
The announcement from Google was intentionally very brief because it wants to make a big splash at its third annual Next conference, which starts today; more specifically, Google plans to reveal more information about these two partnerships at a breakout session called "Distributed Ledger Technology Partnerships on Google Cloud", where it will introduce its DLT partners "who will share how you can get started building DLT solutions for enterprise use cases on GCP today."
Fortunately, however, you won't have to wait till then to learn more about what these partnerships mean for Google and customers of its Google Cloud Platform since both of these companies issued their own press releases yesterday.
Digital Asset's press release said that the company was announcing "a new collaboration with Google Cloud to bring Digital Asset’s blockchain platform and developer tools to Google Cloud Platform" and that GCP developers now had "access to a comprehensive suite of tools and services to build, test and deploy distributed ledger applications on-demand and without having to configure the underlying platform."
Blythe Masters, the Oxford-born but Cambridge-educated CEO of Digital Asset Holdings, a former senior execute at JPMorgan Chase and the current Chairman of the Governing Board of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger project, had this to say about the partnership with Google:
"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. This will reduce the technical barriers to DLT application development by delivering our advanced distributed ledger platform and modelling language to Google Cloud.”
Leonard Law, Head of Financial Services Platform at Google Cloud, seems equally happy with this partnership:
"We are delighted to innovate with Digital Asset in the distributed ledger space. DLT has great potential to benefit customers not just in the financial services industry, but across many industries, and we’re excited to bring these developer tools to Google Cloud.”
According to the Digital Asset's announcement, Google has also joined the private beta of Digital Asset’s developer program, which provides access to the Software Development Kit (SDK) for the Digital Asset Modeling Language (DAML), so that "Solution Architects across Google now have access to the DAML SDK Developer Preview to explore blockchain applications with their clients." DAML is a smart contract language designed specifically for use in DLT applications. It "simplifies the task of writing smart contracts by treating agreements and the parties to them as native constructs and hiding ledger details from the developer, and contains guardrails to protect against delivering contracts that can produce unpredictable results."
The press release added:
"In collaboration with Google Cloud, Digital Asset has expanded its developer program to include the DAML Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) on Google Cloud Platform. The DAML PaaS is a fully-managed solution that developers can use to test and deploy DLT applications, accessible through Google Cloud’s Orbitera application marketplace technologies. Combined with the DAML SDK, developers now have an end-to-end toolkit to build and deploy sophisticated distributed applications."
As for BlockApps, it also issued its own press release to announce its partnership with GCP, pointing out that it was offering BlockApps STRATO, "a rapid-deployment Blockchain-as-a-Service solution platform for enterprises." The announcement went on to say:
"BlockApps STRATO is the first Blockchain-as-a-Service platform, enabling the creation of blockchain solutions for all industry verticals. BlockApps launched the category of Blockchain-as-a-Service over two years ago and continues to set the standards for enterprise blockchains... Based on the Ethereum protocol, BlockApps STRATO provides enterprise grade API integration capabilities, configurable consensus algorithms, and the capability to query and report on blockchain data using a traditional SQL database... Application developers will find STRATO familiar, easy to use, and easy to integrate with existing enterprise systems. This enables enterprise teams to quickly begin building blockchain applications."
Kieren James-Lubin, the CEO of BlockApps, stated:
“BlockApps is delighted to integrate our platform with GCP and support GCP customers, both existing and new, on their journey to build blockchain technology solutions.”
This move by Google shows that it is finally getting serious about blockchain technology so that it doesn't get left behind by its main competitors, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, both of which currently have higher market shares than Google Cloud Platform, and both of which already offer their own blockchain solutions (Azure Blockchain Workbench in the case of Microsoft and Blockchain Templates in the case of Amazon).