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Google’s Bitcoin Wallet Balances Spark Privacy Debate

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Google's Bitcoin Wallet Balances Spark Privacy Debate

Google has expanded its features to allow users to search wallet balances across various blockchains, including Bitcoin, Arbitrum, Avalanche, Optimism, Polygon, and Fantom. This new feature allows users to enter their wallet address and see their token balance by network, along with the last updated time. Google’s inclusion of Bitcoin data in its search results increases accessibility to on-chain activity and takes advantage of its significant daily search volume. Some privacy-minded Bitcoin supporters have raised concerns about centralized data aggregation and its potential impact on privacy.

This update builds on Google’s previous introduction of Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domain search results, which enabled users to check wallet balances using readable domain names like “vitalik.eth” for Ethereum wallet addresses. Google’s expansion into wallet balance searches represents a shift in the tech giant’s attitude. In 2018, Google prohibited Bitcoin-related advertisements but recently reversed its stance, allowing advertisements for Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) after their approval in January. Notable asset managers like BlackRock now appear in Google’s search results.

In addition to these changes, in October 2022, Google partnered with Coinbase, enabling its customers to pay for cloud services using cryptocurrency. Google also generated excitement for the Ethereum Merge event, which marked Ethereum’s transition from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS) in 2022. The tech firm featured animated pandas moving in sync as a countdown to the event.

Looking ahead to 2023, Google Cloud collaborated with Web3 startup Orderly Network to develop user-centric developer tools for decentralized finance (DeFi). The goal of this partnership was to address the entry barriers and security issues commonly faced in the DeFi ecosystem. This initiative aimed to make it easier for developers and users to participate in the decentralized world of finance.

Google’s recent expansions demonstrate its increasing involvement and support for blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. By incorporating wallet balance searches and embracing Bitcoin advertisements and partnerships, Google is positioning itself as a significant player in the cryptocurrency industry.

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