On 8 July 2018, Charles Hoskinson, a co-founder of Ethereum (ETH) and Cardano (ADA), and CEO of IOHK, held a surprise Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session during which he discussed his meeting with Google last month.
Charles started by explaining that he met with Google in London in June 2018 for an “informal Q&A session.” They told him: “Hey, We’d like to ask you lots of questions about the cryptocurrency space, about the technology that Cardano has, and what IOHK does as a company.” Charles and his team (from IOHK) then spent the next two hours answering all of Google’s questions. Once IOHK published on its blog a transcript of this meeting at Google’s main London’s office, many people started asking if there was going to be some kind of partnership between Cardano and Google.
Charles said that this was the reality:
“Google is a multi-national company. It is one of the largest, most powerful engineering companies in the world. They have some phenomenal scientists working at Google, from world-famous cryptographers to infosec people … If Google is going to do a cryptocurrency, Google does not need to partner with me, and they don’t need to partner with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or anything else. They are just going to go ahead and do their own thing. That said, Google is a good patron of open-source technology, and many of their employees do invest their weekends and at least one day a week on contributing to some open-source project. And Google does a very large internal cryptocurrency and blockchain mailing list. A lot of their employees love this space. In fact, Mike Hearn, one of the most famous Googlers… was originally a core developer of Bitcoin… So, we felt that it was an excellent opportunity to tell them what we are working on, and if any of their employees… want to make open-source contributions, we’d always welcome it, but I don’t think there is a going to be a partnership anytime soon with Google.”
What Charles says about Google’s interest in blockchain technology in general and cryptocurrencies in particular is quite interesting, and fits nicely with other things we have heard about Google in this area. For example, on 20 May 2018, Ethereum’s main co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, posted a tweet (which he later removed) that indicated that he had been contacted by a Google recruiter.
Also, just this past weekend, at the 2018 Blockchain Summit (this year held at Sir Richard Branson’s Moroccan luxury resort hotel, the Kasbah Tamadot), at a panel on “Emerging Technologies and Trends”, Google co-founder Sergey Brin had this to say about cryptocurrencies:
“I would say that these cryptocurrencies are the same kind of thing. First even taking the research work of Diffie–Hellman team, and taking the public key cryptography, and the fact that can exist is kind of mindboggling to a mathematician. But then the fact that’s widespread across the internet now, and these… you know bitcoin, the Proof of Work thing, saying oh my god you can build this thing that kind of people have to do little hashing and find this stuff. That idea, it’s like no, no you really can make this global network where people take it seriously. It’s kind of extraordinary, it’s mindboggling, to me.
Nowadays I look at things like Zcash, for example, and I don’t know much about cryptocurrencies but the fact that people are using these zero knowledge proofs, which is very theoretical computer science, you know pretty recently, and actually using it in the wild, I mean it doesn’t seem like it should be even possible to have that work to be honest. I’ve tried to go through the maths myself and I haven’t quite made it through. It’s really mindboggling.”
— Michael del Castillo (@DelRayMan) July 8, 2018
Charles then went to explain how Cardano was using some of Google’s technology and how he could envision the possibility of Google using some of Cardano’s technology in future:
I think Google, like Microsoft and Apple and Facebook, is just going to go its own way and do its own thing at the high level, but there always are opportunities for us to collaborate. And if Google has some ideas, or we have some ideas that we think may sense, then of course we’ll pursue that. We are using Google technology in our stack. Electron is actually a fork of Chromium and Node stitched together, and that is the heart of [Cardano wallet] Daedalus. And there’s a lot of other little things that Google has worked on in the past that we’ve pulled into our tech stack because they are legitimately good ideas, and we hope that Google can see parts of our stack as useful to things they work on.