Alphabet has been revealed as the largest blockchain investor, having sunk over $1.5 billion into the technology, according to new research.
In four rounds of investment between September 2021 and June 2022, Alphabet invested $1.506 billion, several hundreds of millions of dollars ahead of its nearest investment competitor Blackrock ($1.171 billion).
Navigating your hybrid cloud vision
Ensure business continuity and lower IT acquisition costs with on-premises private cloud
Taken together, the top forty companies invested around $6 billion into blockchain over the period, with other notable companies such as Samsung, PayPal and Microsoft all putting confidence in the emerging space.
Despite the scale of spending over the period, Alphabet’s entire investment was in just four blockchain companies, Fireblocks, Digital Currency Group, Voltage and Dapper Labs. The deal with Fireblocks alone was worth $550 million.
The limited portfolio could indicate a shift in Alphabet’s interest, from broad investment in the sector to a specific focus on companies that best fit its use cases. In its report on the numbers, blockchain information vendor Blockdata notes that “Alphabet and Blackrock are showcasing a completely different strategy by making concentrated bets on a smaller set of companies.”
Supporting this interpretation of the data, Blockdata’s report from the previous year notes that Alphabet invested in 23 blockchain companies up to September 2021. The more focused strategy on display follows public indication that Alphabet, and its subsidiary Google, have warmed to blockchain and Web3 in the past few years.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai spoke optimistically about the blockchain in Google’s Q4 earnings call at the start of February.
“On web3, we are definitely looking at blockchain, and such an interesting and powerful technology with broad applications, so much broader, again, than any one application,” he stated.
“So much broader, again, than any one application. So as a company, we are looking at how we might contribute to the ecosystem and add value.”
In May, Google Cloud confirmed that it is in the process of building a dedicated Web3 team, to support customers seeking to deploy products around the blockchain, including cryptocurrency and NFTs. It is hoped that Web3 investment can lead to novel use cases, and Google Cloud's investment in the technology to date implies a wide net to provide as comprehensive an experience for blockchain customers as possible.
In recent months, blockchain and cryptocurrency companies have lost over $2 billion to hacks and exploits, with individual companies such as token bridge Nomad losing up to $190 million in one exploit.
IT Pro has approached Google for comment.
Get the ITPro. daily newsletter
Receive our latest news, industry updates, featured resources and more. Sign up today to receive our FREE report on AI cyber crime & security - newly updated for 2023.
Rory Bathgate is Features and Multimedia Editor at ITPro, overseeing all in-depth content and case studies. He can also be found co-hosting the ITPro Podcast with Jane McCallion, swapping a keyboard for a microphone to discuss the latest learnings with thought leaders from across the tech sector.
In his free time, Rory enjoys photography, video editing, and good science fiction. After graduating from the University of Kent with a BA in English and American Literature, Rory undertook an MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies at King’s College London. He joined ITPro in 2022 as a graduate, following four years in student journalism. You can contact Rory at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn.