Today Google and Coinbase announced a collaboration that will allow some Google Cloud clients to pay with cryptocurrency, starting with web3 companies. However, the deal isn’t limited to accepting crypto payments.
Coinbase also mentioned that Google would use Coinbase Prime for institutional crypto services, like secure custody and reporting.
Amit Zavery, Head of Platform at Google Cloud, said somewhat cryptically that this is to “see how we can participate” with managing cryptocurrency assets, talking to CNBC. The TV station assumed this is intended to diversify Google’s treasury assets into crypto.
However, there’s another potential explanation. Google Cloud already has multiple arrangements with blockchain protocols to provide node services, such as Hedera DLT and the Flow and Theta blockchains. Hence it’s equally likely it might want to custody its crypto as part of those deals, which potentially include staking services.
Additionally, Coinbase will start using Google Cloud’s compute service to process blockchain data at scale. And it is integrating its Coinbase Cloud Node service with Google’s BiqQuery blockchain data, providing a solution targeted at web3 developers.
Back in January, Google Cloud said it launched a digital assets team to explore accepting crypto payments. A week earlier, Google Labs created a blockchain division and Google Pay announced a new leader who is very crypto-friendly. Over time the Labs and Pay moves could prove more significant than the Cloud one.
At the height of the last crypto cycle, Alphabet’s Capital G made an investment in the Digital Currency Group, the company that owns the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, Coindesk, Genesis Trading and has a significant crypto and blockchain startup portfolio.