Google and Coinbase announced a deal Tuesday to help each other out: Google wants to get into crypto, while Coinbase wants more large institutional customers.
As part of the deal, Google Cloud will start using Coinbase to accept crypto payments from some customers, while Coinbase will start using Google’s cloud services for its blockchain infrastructure.
Google’s crypto moves. While Alphabet hasn’t been as active as others, it now looks to be jumping in. As part of its new partnership, Google Cloud is piloting crypto payments using Coinbase with select customers and plans to open up to more customers in 2023.
Coinbase, meanwhile, will use Google Cloud to store and manage blockchain data. Coinbase — and crypto more generally — is not yet a massive client base for Google Cloud, but the move to accepting crypto payments is meant to make Google Cloud more attractive to Web3 and crypto companies. Google clearly believes it represents a growth opportunity.
Last month, Richard Widmann, Google’s head of strategy, Web3, and cloud, called Google’s cloud offering a foundational piece of crypto: “The Cloud provision — we’re a layer zero,” he told Decrypt.
Coinbase is also moving some data applications from AWS to Google Cloud — though it’s not clear how much is being switched over.
In addition, Google’s BigQuery crypto public data sets will be powered by Coinbase’s Node product for developers to build crypto applications.
This is a big step for Coinbase, as it seeks to diversify its business.
Signing up Google fits into Coinbase’s goal of working with more institutional customers and dropping its reliance on crypto trading for revenue — an aspiration that’s taken on more urgency since crypto markets crashed earlier this year, denting Coinbase’s revenue and stock price. Coinbase in August announced a deal with BlackRock to give access to crypto trading, custody, and prime broker services for institutional investors.
The competition to sign up large clients for crypto products is intense, from a range of crypto custody and technology providers. Coinbase’s answer to the competition is to offer a broad range of services, including custody, payments, staking, and prime brokerage services. This along with its existing crypto exchange is meant to be a one-stop shop for large customers.
At the same time, Coinbase has been building out developer-friendly tools to make building crypto products easier, such as its Node product for self-service API connections to the Ethereum blockchain. In fact, like Google Cloud, Coinbase has its own software-as-a-service offering called Coinbase Cloud, though it targets crypto developers and isn’t meant to compete with Google.
A version of this story appeared in Protocol’s Fintech newsletter. Sign up here to get it in your inbox each morning.