Google Versus the Crypto World — Round Two!
Hello again, friends! It’s 2020 and we hope that it will bring only positive news to the crypto industry. But we also want to start our year here with a word of warning. While large corporations like IBM invest millions in blockchain development, while top banks cooperate with crypto projects such as Ripple, there are still powerful players who want to control the decentralized universe. And Google/Alphabet is one of them.
Note that the Superorder team publishes this article for educational purposes only. It can’t be considered as an official accusation of any parties mentioned. The following info also can’t be considered as investment advice.
When It All Started
The first round of rivalry between Google and cryptocurrency/blockchain projects began in March 2018. The IT giant decided to ban all crypto advertisements following the same restriction announced by Facebook a bit earlier. The new decisions were rolled out in June. However, this fight ended pretty quickly. In October 2018, Google lifted the ban so advertisers could post crypto-themed content again.
A-and, yes, you wouldn’t read this article if everything remained calm. Right at the end of 2019, YouTube bloggers found their crypto-related videos removed, their channels struck, and their emails… with no info about what’s going on. Simultaneously, thousands of users were blocked from accessing MetaMask — an ETH wallet app and Chrome extension. Sounds like a massive attack, right? Well, Google claimed it was an “error”!
Let’s try to understand what’s the catch and how we should react to it.
YouTube Against Crypto Videos
The first attack known as a “crypto purge” was focused on video bloggers. From December 23, YouTube started removing various videos related to cryptocurrency, blockchain, mining, and other similar topics. Entire channels were wiped out when their owners received strikes for “harmful or dangerous content”.
The number of channels and bloggers affected by this sudden ban includes:
Surprisingly, big channels like Cointelegraph or Coindesk weren’t affected at all — YouTube focused on independent authors. But it also hit Vitalik Butherin who considered it just “weird” to remove the Ethereum’s roadmap. He also mentioned that this occurrence shows that the industry needs some alternatives to YouTube.
In a few days, YouTube spokesman told that the videos were deleted “in error” and that they will be returned as soon as possible. According to Decrypt, several channels remained voided even after this announcement. As of January 11, it seems that all videos are restored and channels are active.
Ban of MetaMask in Google Play
The second direction chosen by Google touched crypto-related extensions. The company banned MetaMask. This solution is an ETH-based cryptocurrency wallet that is available both as an Android application and a Chrome extension. It also supports dApps and simplifies access to the decentralized web.
Google said that MetaMask was banned because of mining possibilities that violate some rules. The truth is that the project doesn’t relate to mining at all! The company refuses the first appeal but then changed its opinion and canceled the ban silently. Now, MetaMask is available in Google Play but we still have a bit of bad taste about this action.
Where Are We Now
Clearly, the recent Google decisions related to bans and further reliefs look odd. The corporation attacks but then moves back. It’s some kind of preliminary measures or tests focused on the crypto sector.
To summarize, here are two current updates on both aspects:
- YouTube and crypto videos. Google admitted that bans were made “in error”. YouTube promised to restore videos and accounts. Still, some parts remain missing even despite the platform called all strikes back.
- MetaMask and crypto apps. Google admitted that removals were made “in error”, similarly. MetaMask is available both for Android and Chrome users. But the company has suffered certain reputational harm, surely.
Just an Error or (Cold) War?
At the end of the day, even the most seasoned crypto experts can’t be sure about these events. Maybe it was an error, just like Google claims. But this position doesn’t explain why some videos weren’t restored for days after the announcement. We’d opt for another idea — Google plays its own game, similarly to Facebook, Binance, and other giants.
Get it right. Alphabet, Google’s parent company and one of the biggest holdings with $232 billion in assets, controls major parts of our lives. It rules YouTube with your videos, Google Play with your apps, Google Drive with your documents, and so on. It also has enormous revenue from traditional centralized advertising.
Now think. Does Google/Alphabet want to lose this control? Surely, not. That’s why the corporation considers all potential ways to limit the rise of crypto and blockchain projects. Especially, it pays close attention to decentralized applications (by the way, MetaMask provides quick access to some dApps…) and other disruptive solutions.
A short conclusion is that Alphabet doesn’t want innovations to destroy its hegemony. And it has enough power to prevent them, we’ve seen it twice. Most likely, it’s not just an “error”. It’s not a total war either. Today, it seems that the company oversights the crypto growth and prepares for all potential consequences.
Guidelines for Crypto Enthusiasts
Overall, it’s more than just a conflict between Google and crypto. It’s a conflict of two radically different views on Internet development. Honestly, we don’t have universal suggestions. Just be aware of an extremely powerful entity that exists somewhere in the world. To be precise, it’s Mountain View, California. This entity can strike at any time and in any direction. Be ready. And use decentralized solutions.