Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain and decentralization have grown very popular in tech circles since the meteoric rise in the value of Bitcoin. Over the past few months it seems that Silicon Valley giants are far from pleased with this development.
Cryptocurrencies were developed as an alternative to traditional payment processors and offer its users a certain degree of anonymity and security via blockchain technology. By having a decentralized platform, it is nearly impossible to shut down or hack cryptocurrencies. This gives cryptocurrencies a huge advantage over banks and other online payment methods, which is something that might threaten tech giants.
Facebook was the first tech titan to make a move against cryptocurrencies, and in January 2018 changed its policy to ban any mention of ICOs (initial coin offering), exchanges, wallets and any promotions linked to cryptocurrencies on its platform. Google followed suit shortly after. Just a few days ago, Google announced that it is restricting cryptocurrency advertising and bunched it in the same group as sexually explicit content and counterfeit items.
Some have speculated that the success of cryptocurrencies threatens certain departments of Facebook and Google, most notably Google Pay and Facebook Pay. While both Facebook Pay and Google Pay are not cryptocurrencies, are not decentralized (quite the opposite) and are not based in blockchain technology, it is a cashless internet based transaction method and could be seen as a competitor to cryptocurrencies.
Others have speculated that Facebook’s cryptocurrency ban is motivated by a personal vendetta that Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg has against his previous business partners and Bitcoin billionaires, the Winklevoss twins. While it is impossible to verify these claims, it is plausible.
Another possibility that arise is the business nature of tech monopolies. Facebook and Google try their hardest to create competition to promising tech companies, if that fails, they buy them out. Examples include Google’s failed Google Video platform which was followed by a purchase of YouTube. With Facebook, you can look in to their purchase of WhatsApp and other social media. Since Google and Facebook cannot purchase Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies per say, they are attempting to quash them.
One can hope that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies will continue its revolution of low-cost transactions, anonymity, decentralization and security, which seem to be the antithesis to Silicon Valley giants. While the steps Silicon Valley has taken have slightly weakened Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, it will not be able to eradicate them.