The bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry was spooked earlier this year by reports search giant Google had achieved so-called quantum supremacy, something that could potentially break bitcoin’s cryptography (but likely won’t).
Meanwhile, the bitcoin price has climbed this year, largely due to interest in bitcoin and crypto from the world’s biggest technology companies–with others, including the likes of iPhone-maker Apple and online retailer Amazon, branching out into traditional financial services.
Now, Google, in partnership with U.S. banking giant Citigroup, has said it’s planning to launch its own fully-fledged “smart checking” bank accounts via Google Pay–piling pressure on bitcoin developers to improve user experience and adoption or face redundancy.
Google’s planned bank account, code-named Cache and expected to allow users to add Google’s analytic tools to traditional banking products, is due to be launched sometime next year, alongside Facebook’s planned bitcoin rival, libra.
“Our approach is going to be to partner deeply with banks and the financial system,” Google executive Caesar Sengupta told the Wall Street Journal newspaper, which first reported the story.
“It may be the slightly longer path, but it’s more sustainable. If we can help more people do more stuff in a digital way online, it’s good for the internet and good for us.”
Google is not planning on selling the financial data of its checking account users, according to Sengupta. Google does not currently share data from its Google Pay service, which boasted an estimated 11.1 million U.S. users last year, with advertisers.
The move by Google follows the launch of Apple’s Goldman Sachs-backed credit card this last summer, ride-hailing app Uber’s offer of bank accounts and credit to its drivers, and Amazon’s plans to introduce personal accounts for its customers.
Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies have, meanwhile, struggled to attract new users and retail acceptance with price speculation still the biggest driver of bitcoin interest.
Bitcoin evangelicals point to the need for a decentralized, user-controlled alternative to the fiat currency system as the reason for bitcoin’s eventual success, but the world’s technology giants are moving fast to implement many of bitcoin and crypto’s most highly prized features.
Micro-blogging platform Twitter, led by the chief executive of payments company Square, Jack Dorsey, is a Silicon Valley outlier for its support of bitcoin.
And public opinion is with the tech companies. Last month, Apple, Google, and Amazon were found to be the most valuable brands in the world, according to Interbrand’s annual survey.
Despite public concerns around data-privacy, digital security and the power of tech giants, users have failed to abandon their services–Google’s superior digital money service could be a greater threat to bitcoin than its quantum supremacy.