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Google is now spending a staggering amount on blockchain

The tech giant invested $1.5 billion into just four promising firms, as other big names also stake their claims in the emerging technology

A telephoto shot of the Google logo, made of wood on a wall of wooden slats

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). 

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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.

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