Who Will Kill Bitcoin?

We are apparently living in an unprecedented time, although of course we aren’t; there have been plagues before this one. The only difference is that we are living through this is in an age of technology.

We know who the global tech giants are:They are Google, Facebook and Apple, and they all need to build their revenue. Amazon is excluded from the list, because it has already seen a massive growth in traffic and purchases, as consumers confined to their homes need to have stuff delivered.

 

One way in which the three tech giants could pursue rapid growth is by entering the financial services sector, something they have dipped their toes into, but have never embraced wholeheartedly. However, they face a challenge, and as Billy Bambrough, one of the expert cryptocurrency analysts I follow writes, while Google et al have been waiting around, “bitcoin has gained ground.”

What are Google and Facebook’s weak points?

 

As Bambrough says, these two companies have relied on ad revenue, but he believes that this is going to be squeezed hard by regulators in the post-virus world. In an earlier article, he wrote that the world will likely be looking for alternatives, and quotes the CEO of the blockchain-based privacy browser Brave, who believes Google “is going to be taken apart over coming years.”

Apple loses its grip

 

Apple has seen sales of its big money maker, the iPhone, decline. The reason being that less expensive phones have improved in quality, and improvements to the iPhone have not proved to be enough to really enthuse the consumer. Add to this the economic effects of the coming global recession and it is easy to see that those who might once have splashed out nearly $1000 on a new iPhne, may opt, indeed will have to opt, for cheaper models that effectively do the same job.

Google is apparently looking into launching a smart debit card, and Apple has already debuted a credit card, while Facebook is still moving ahead with its Libra stablecoin project that caused such a stir last year. It hoped to displace bitcoin as a leading cryptocurrency, but has clearly been foiled in its efforts.

 

Bitcoin offers stability

Meanwhile bitcoin, which has no tech company, government or central bank behind it lives on. And as Bambrough points out, it doesn’t even have an advertising budget, never mind a CEO. As he says, “Bitcoin, maintained by an evolving and decentralized network and beholden only to the mathematical principles that underpin it, is stability without authority.”

 

Google et al by contrast are deeply centralised, and so will any financial products they unleash on the market. They will never get away from that, whereas bitcoin continues to represent the antithesis of Silicon Valley capitalism. That’s why the big tech companies main option now is to kill it! But who will do it?

How Google’s 5G strategy could give it market dominance

Google has shared its vision for enabling telecommunication providers to deliver business services through 5G networks using a Global Mobile Edge Cloud (GMEC) strategy. This will allow both Google and telecoms companies to use 5G networks to deliver “unique applications and services running at the edge,” as Janikaram MSV writes at Forbes.

What is 5G/Edge for business?

A 5G network will be able to deliver speed and bandwidth unlike anything we have experienced before, and the entire system is more geared up for business services than consumers. Furthermore, since telco networks provide access to the Cloud, it means they can “introduce an edge computing layer that offers unique advantages to businesses,” Janikaram says.

Google foresees the advantages of this for its own business, because it will enable it to provide some of the best Google Cloud Platform capabilities to the businesses, and this in turn will enable the telecom companies to monetise their 5G networks.

Google has already partnered with AT&T to build a portfolio of 5G edge computing solutions ​for industries like retail, manufacturing and transportation​, and will maximise the use of Google’s AI capabilities to help AT&T to expand its reach in the USA.

Consumers will also have their experience radically offered when through the use of 5G. It will deliver all manner of immersive experiences using augmented and virtual reality, and we can expect the retail sector to be altered beyond recognition with services similar to an Amazon Go shopping experience, and we’ll have ‘smart’ everything: cities, healthcare, buildings.

All of this depends heavily on using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data. Google is well positioned for this as a leader in analytics, as well as AI, and its strategy will help telecom providers to offer a “technology stack to developers and businesses building the next-generation consumer experiences.”

For example, here are some of Google’s assets that will help it to make the most of the edge computing opportunity: Anthos is a Google modular hybrid cloud platform based on containers and Kubernetes for enterprise data that can be revamped for the telecom edge.

And there is TensorFlow, the most popular open source machine learning framework used by researchers, AI engineers and ML developers.

Google has also built custom hardware to accelerate the training and inference of machine learning models, and its Edge TPU is the counterpart of Cloud TPU that can speed up inferencing TensorFlow models running at the edge.

Let’s not forget that Google has 21 cloud regions and 134+ Content Delivery Network (CDN) locations across the globe, and that through its Point of Presence (PoP) and edge locations, Google delivers some of its services such as Search, Gmail, YouTube and more. It is going to capitalise on this global footprint, and as Janikaram says, “If Google manages to deliver on its vision of edge computing, it will become a formidable player in the 5G-based mobile edge computing market.”

Google’s bitcoin war is dumbing down

As you are probably aware, Google has a fraught relationship with Bitcoin (BTC) in particular, and cryptocurrencies in general. It’s a problem, because YouTube, which Google owns, is awash with videos about digital assets. What we have seen is that whenever possible, Google has tried to raise barricades against the oncoming tide of crypto information, in all its forms, including apps and websites, which has caused crypto fans to accuse the media giant of censorship.

We have only just begun 2020, and already Google has lashed out by removing Bitcoin Blast, a BTC rewards game from the Google Play store, on the gorunds that it uses “deceptive practices.” According to Billy Bambrough at Forbes, Bitcoin Blast was available on the Apple app store on 24th January, but was removed a week later. Apple said that it violated certain of its app policies, but said it could come back if it “can be brought up to code.”

Daniel Rice, cofounder and chief technology officer at Bling, the make of Bitcoin Blast, said in a post, “We were not removed for being involved with cryptocurrency,” but added, “it’s also possible that Bitcoin Blast will never return to an Apple platform.”

The irony is that Bitcoin Blast’s users rather liked the puzzle game that rewards users with bitcoin-redeemable loyalty points and boasts a 4.5 rating from some 20,000 ratings and 13,000 reviews. They complained to Google about the sudden removal of their entertainment. And this had a positive effect. Although, Bling, did have to make a public plea for support, and it was only after this happened that Google reversed its decision.

It isn’t the first time that Google has waded reversed a decision regarding a crypto-related app or site. It tried to ban most of the bitcoin-related content creators from YouTube, only to face a backlash from users that forced a change of heart.

Not long after this, Google suspended the popular MetaMask crypto wallet and mobile browser app backed by Ethereum incubator ConsenSys from the Play Store, only to eventually reinstate it.

This behaviour is rather odd, and it is no wonder that companies such as Bling are questioning what their future relationship they might have with Google, if any at all. Bling’s CEO, Amy Wan wrote, “Google’s suspension cited their ‘deceptive behavior’ policy … but did not state exactly what behavior Google thought was deceptive,” and she advices other businesses to avoid putting all their products on a Google platform. Furthermore, she said that Google couldn’t answer the question regarding what was “deceptive” about the Bitcoin Blast app.

As Billy Bambrough says, Google’s “twitchy trigger finger and the speed at which the ban hammer falls is, understandably, making people nervous.”

Certainly, it needs to rethink its battle strategy, because at the moment, it looks like every action is a simplistic knee-jerk reaction, rather than a well-considered approach based on evidence.

Google Just ‘Killed’ Major Bitcoin News Site CCN In A ‘Crypto Crackdown’

At the beginning of this week, many CCN readers were hugely disappointed, and probably annoyed as well, to find press reports that CCN was closing down thanks to Google.

The problem is a thing called Google’s June 2019 Core Update that rolled out on 3rd June. CCN reported a drop in mobile traffic volume of 71% overnight, following the launch of this Google tool. It isn’t the only crypto-related news site that has seen a drop-off in figures: Coindesk’s traffic dropped by 34.6% according to Sistrix, a data company that tracks website visibility on Google, and Cointelegraph by 21%.

Billy Bambrough at Forbes writes, “The sudden drop in traffic to bitcoin and cryptocurrency websites has caused editors to question whether this was an intentional attempt to undermine their coverage of the cryptocurrency sector.”

But, it wasn’t just the crypto-related sites that have been hit hard by the Google Core Update; mainstream news outlets are also seeing a distressing downturn.

CCN founder Jonas Borchgrevink wrote just after the first announcement of CCN’s closure, “While all major crypto focused sites have taken a hit by Google’s June 2019 Core Update, other sites that are not affiliated with cryptocurrencies have experienced a startlingly similar impact.” And he called on journalists and editors to resist Google’s attempts to “control the world’s news consumption” and a future “Googlémocracy.”

“We have tried to find out why our stories are no longer visible on Google by asking for guidance in Google’s Webmasters Forum. While we appreciate the help of the experts from the Google Forum, their theories for why Google has decided to basically ‘shut down’ CCN does not appear to be entirely accurate. Why would simple fixes be the cause of the immense Google-listing drop, when other similar sites are experiencing the same blowback,” Borchgrevink asked.

CCN rises from the dead

If you go to the CCN website today you’ll see it is still posting current stories. I expected to get some 4040 error, or other notice indicating the site was down So I found the post by Jonas Borchgrevink explaining just how CCN appears to have come back from the dead. He addresses the readers to thank them for their support and then says, “While we’ve been working in the dark, trying to get to the bottom of our massive visibility drop on Google, a friendly helper in Google’s forum mentioned that ‘CryptoCoinsNews.com’ — our previous domain- is reappearing in Google searches.” He goes on to say, “That was a massive surprise for us as I personally requested a domain name change in 2017 from CryptoCoinsNews.com to CCN.com.”

And he concludes by saying, “Whether or not the Google June 2019 Core Update is to blame, we are fixing it. We’re receiving help from multiple SEO teams to understand what has transpired.

There’s still a good chance that this won’t correct our visibility on Google overnight, but I’m hopeful we are on the right path to figuring it out.”

So, there you have it: CCN died, but is dead no more!