‘Crypto is not real money’? Google shows itself to be clueless about crypto

Google recently released an ad for its new product ‘Call Screen’, where it pokes fun at crypto mining, stating that the activity costs more in energy than the profit made. The Google Call Screen ad describes cryptocurrencies as ‘money that isn’t real’, implying that mining coins to get revenue would be foolish.

Ad for Google's Call Screen

A year after the big Bitcoin boom, cryptocurrency has become a more widespread concept and the crypto market more mature, with altcoins also sparking interest.

It is surprising that a company of Google’s standing would publicly express this level of scepticism towards crypto and blockchain, says Stefania Barbaglio, crypto PR expert and founder of Cassiopeia Services: ‘It demonstrates only superficial knowledge of the crypto space, showing that Google is clueless about the potential behind crypto.’

Stefania Barbaglio’s interview on

Google pokes fun at crypto

It is well known that Bitcoin mining consumes a lot of energy, so it is not a profitable activity for the average individual. However, the crypto market is filled with altcoins designed differently from Bitcoin in this respect. At this point, viewing Bitcoin as the flagship cryptocurrency shows little knowledge of, and disregard for, today’s fast-growing, diverse crypto market.

Fundamentally, Bitcoin was developed in proof-of-work (PoW), a process that requires considerable energy. However, the newer generation coins employ proof-of-stake (PoS), which is less energy consuming, increasing the advantage for individual miners. To mention only a few such altcoins: Cardano works on proof-of-stake (PoS) and now Ethereum is about to move to its Casper proof-of-stake model, which will substantially reduce mining competition and the like; NEO and Hyperledger are the next-generation coins with even lower electricity costs and related carbon footprints. Cryptocurrencies are evolving and making their system more efficient in the process.

Looking at the big picture, even the expensive Bitcoin cryptocurrency mining is overall much cheaper than the traditional banking system as a whole. Aside from that, crypto is much more than digital money. The blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrencies has proved to be a game-changer, challenging the established ways of doing business and transacting, taking away the central power from big institutions while empowering individuals with greater access to and control over their own transactions.

‘Google is a centralised system: it wants to protect itself and show that its centralised worldwide data system is still the leader. Unfortunately, we have reached a tipping point with blockchain shifting the power paradigm of centralisation to decentralisation. What smart tech companies should do is to adopt forward-thinking, inclusive strategies to integrate these new technologies into their systems’ she says.

The role of some cryptocurrencies is to facilitate transactions without traditional money and the associated banking system, allowing wider access, fighting inflation and reducing third-party fees. The irony for Google is that some cryptocurrencies are indeed used just as money would be to pay for goods and services.

Among its many applications, blockchain can after all be a challenger to Google’s solid dominance online, as it allows for different types of search engines to emerge, such as a human search engine, where users participate in the process of filtering information and help clarify the search request.

Stefania also highlights that Google’s stance on blockchain and crypto does not affect the crypto community: if anything, it clearly shows Google’s limited knowledge of the crypto space and its opportunities.

The released ad represents a controversial move by Google, just days after it reverted its ban on crypto ads in a few countries, when the company signalled a more welcoming attitude towards crypto. Earlier this year, Google had banned Chrome browser mining plug-ins, and then all cryptocurrency ads from its platform, with the aim of protecting its customers from potential scams and misleading services that could be found in the crypto space — only to ease out the ban a few months later once it realised that the move had been a mistake.

’Google realised how big the crypto market is, and the opportunity they would be missing out on if they weren’t flexible — that’s why they had to revert their ban on crypto ads,’ says Stefania. ‘The crypto advertising market is huge, so putting a ban on Google ads would prevent them (Google) from making money and reaping the benefits of this significant crypto community and industry. It seems that Google contracted a case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Google wants a cut of the crypto trading profit and markets, so has turned on the green light for these institutions.’

Other tech giants have also started to embrace the technology. Facebook had partially lifted its own crypto advertising ban in mid-June and it is said that Zuckerberg has employed a blockchain research group, even if its purpose is not yet clear.

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