Google co-founder Sergey Brin mentioned, at a blockchain conference in Morocco, that he has been mining Ethereum with his son. He openly acknowledged that Google has missed out on leading the blockchain movement but found blockchain “extraordinary and mind-boggling.”
Brin’s interest in the emerging technology came about when his son wanted a gaming PC. He stated:
“A year or two ago, my son insisted that we needed to get a gaming PC. I told him, Okay if we get a gaming PC, we have to mine cryptocurrency. So we set up an ethereum miner on there, and we’ve made a few pennies, a few dollars since.”
Brin Sees Great Potential With Blockchain Technology
CNBC reported that Brin’s interest peaked after he began mining for Ethereum. It was from there that Brin began to study and look into the underlying technology a bit more. He claimed that he found blockchain technology “fascinating.”
The Google co-founder admitted that he wasn’t so informed and didn’t know so much when it came to cryptocurrencies. He, however, believes that it has “extraordinary” potential.
“I see the future as taking these…research-y, out-there ideas and making them real.”
Google has, however, been a bit slow when it comes to exploring blockchain and distributed ledger technology. The Google co-founder, who is currently the president of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, also mentioned that “[Google] already failed to be on the bleeding edge” when it comes to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
Google Explores DLT to Head Off Competition From New Startups
According to Bloomberg, in May 2018, Google was working on a distributed ledger and blockchain-related technology to assist its cloud business and remain competitive in the space.
A person familiar with the situation, who wished to remain anonymous, mentioned to Bloomberg that the Alphabet Inc. is developing their DLT for third parties to post and verify their transactions. Alphabet Inc. hopes that their blockchain-related technology can be a way to differentiate their cloud service from existing and new competitors entering the market. Google also intends to create a white-label version that other companies can purchase and run on their servers.
Google has also acquired and invested in startups with digital ledger experience and expertise. The same source mentioned that many of the acquisitions have not been publicly announced. Research firm CB Insights, however, found that Alphabet was still one of the leading corporate investors in the blockchain technology sector.
While Google has been testing different blockchain protocols in the last few months, the company is not yet ready to make an announcement. A Google spokesman said:
“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.”
Elad Gil, an investor who previously worked at Google on their early mobile projects ten years ago, mentioned that, whenever there is a paradigm shift, “there’s an opportunity for new giants to emerge — but also for incumbents to adopt the new approach.”
While Brin believes that Google has missed out on being at forefront of blockchain technology, it still has divisions that explore blockchain technology. It also makes small acquisitions when it needs to recruit talent in that sector.