Google is working to build out a distributed digital ledger built on blockchain technology that will allow third parties such as publishers and advertisers to post and securely verify advertising transactions.
The blockchain-type service will become available through its cloud offerings, as well as a version for companies to run on their own servers, according to reports that surfaced Wednesday from Bloomberg, which cited knowledgeable sources. The media outlet reported in 2016 that Google Cloud would use blockchain to test the technology with banks.
CB Insights in a research report called 2017 "a record year for equity deals and dollars to blockchain startups."
It’s not a surprise Google has been quietly making investments in companies specializing in distributed digital ledgers. CB Insights notes that Alphabet, Google’s parent company, led in corporate investments last year ahead of Citigroup, Goldman Sachs Group, and many others.
Google made six investments in 2017, including data storage company Storj, private enterprise services company LedgerX, and merchant services firm Veem, according to CB Insights.
Google came in at No. 2 in terms of blockchain investments -- only behind Japan-based SBI Holdings, which made eight.
CB Insights also points to deals like Coinbase’s $100 million Series D, Blockchain’s $40 million Series B, with participation from Digital Currency Group, Google Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures, and Mosaic Group, among others; and Bitfury’s $30 million Series C, backed by China Credit Limited Holdings.
Google is one in a handful of established players like IBM and Microsoft, along with many startups, making their way into distributed digital ledgers running on blockchain technology for a variety of reasons.
For example, recently the blockchain startup Media Protocol said it will use the technology to support a value-based advertising model where consumers get paid for sharing content from publishers and advertisers.