Is Google Making Its Own Cryptocurrency With New Blockchain Group?

Rachel Curry - Author
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Jan. 20 2022, Published 12:01 p.m. ET

Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has expanded into self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and fiber broadband, among other ventures. Now, the company is also taking on blockchain technology with a new blockchain group.

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Where will Google’s newly formed blockchain division go in the future? Will Google end up with its own cryptocurrency on the other side?

Google appointed Shivakumar Venkataraman as the head of the blockchain division.

After forming a blockchain division in November, Google appointed Shivakumar Venkataraman to run the unit in mid-January. Venkataraman served as the engineering vice president for all of Google for more than a decade. Specifically, he focused on the brand’s search advertising business. However, Venkataraman’s focus is turning specifically to blockchain in the new year.

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What is Google Labs—and why now?

In an email to Bloomberg, a Google representative divulged that Google Labs will prioritize “blockchain and other next-gen distributed computing and data storage technologies,” keeping its finger on the pulse of Web 3.0.

Venkataraman is now Google Labs’ founding leader and will oversee everything from virtual and augmented reality to blockchain technology.

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In a fast-moving internet era that's seeing numerous big tech companies take on blockchain and the metaverse, this isn't a surprise. Jack Dorsey’s Square has already changed its name to Block to be more representative of its blockchain-oriented future. Facebook changed its name to Meta to be more aligned with its augmented reality aspirations. Microsoft announced it plans to buy out Activision in the hopes of expanding its metaverse gaming capabilities.

For now, the Google Labs team is reportedly very small and still in the fledgling stages of its operation. Venkataraman’s prior publications on distributed computing could be a glimpse into what Google Labs has in store for blockchain technology.

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Will Google Labs develop its own crypto?

While it's one thing to explore blockchain technology, it’s an entirely different thing to build your own cryptocurrency.

Currently, Google hopes to go beyond simply offering cloud services to blockchain technology companies. According to Bloomberg, Google’s head of payments and commerce said that the company pays “a lot of attention to crypto.” Alphabet’s investments into the blockchain sector will likely grow, but there isn't any sign of its own cryptocurrency on the horizon—yet.

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Blockchain technology has use cases that go far beyond cryptocurrency, so the outcome of the division’s efforts could be varied in nature. Now, as the vice president of Google Labs, Venkataraman is in a position to make real change under the Alphabet name. Until then, it’s a waiting game.

How's GOOGL stock responding to the news?

GOOGL stock is up 1.62 percent on Jan. 20—a marginal amount but enough to suggest that investors are eager to see how Google Labs' products come to fruition.

January has been tough on the stock market, including big tech blue chips like Google, whose stock has fallen 5.33 percent YTD. Recovery is extremely likely—especially with continued expansion and diversification.

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