Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Overbit Weekly Round Up.
Big news broke on Wednesday, 19 January, that one of the world's largest companies, Google, has seemingly thrown its hat back into the world of payments and banking.
According to a Bloomberg story, Google is dipping its toes into Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as its payments business tries to obtain substantial market share in the payments sector and advertises adding custody capabilities of such assets to its digital cards.
According to the story, Bill Ready, Google's VP of commerce, stated, "Crypto is something we pay a lot of attention to."
According to the article, to implement the new capabilities, Google has partnered with Bitcoin exchange Coinbase Inc. and cryptocurrency payment processor BitPay. Although the firm does not accept Bitcoin for transactions, the CEO told Bloomberg that his team searched for further cooperation prospects.
Google's cryptocurrency integrations allow consumers to keep BTC in their digital cards while spending fiat cash, an arrangement that doesn't use Bitcoin as a medium of exchange but will enable users to spend their Bitcoin holdings. Given Bitcoin's meteoric gain in purchasing power over the last decade, however, it is not easy to imagine a situation in which Bitcoiners would want to sell a portion of their BTC holdings as the cost of holding it and spending fiat cash directly rises.
This is undoubtedly Google's latest and most significant push into the payments space, after numerous failed attempts over the years. Ready touched on this aspect in the story, seemingly pointing the finger at attempts by Google to "become a bank".
"We're not a bank — we have no intention of being a bank," Ready told Bloomberg. "Some past efforts, at times, would unwittingly wade into those spaces."
In all, it seems Google is laser-focused on the payments space exclusively, emphasising supporting the cryptocurrency space.
To close out the week, we look at Google's push into payments on a broader level and how it may drive the cryptocurrency side of things.
Additionally, on Wednesday, 19 January, Alphabet's Google revealed to CoinDesk that it had hired former PayPal CEO Arnold Goldberg to lead its payments branch.
According to Bill Ready, Google's head of commerce, Goldberg's hiring is part of a more significant effort for the business to embrace a broader range of financial services, including cryptocurrency. Google wants to become a "connective tissue" for the entire consumer finance industry, according to Ready.
"As user demand and merchant demand evolves, we'll evolve with it," Ready said. Google declined to provide additional detail to CoinDesk about its crypto plans.
Arnold formerly managed PayPal's core checkout and merchant services operations as the company's principal product architect and general manager.
This concludes this week's edition of Overbit Weekly Round Up. Thank you so much for reading, and until next time!