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Google Pay hires PayPal exec to head up crypto payments push

Google has hired a former PayPal executive to help bolster Google Pay, with plans to expand into the crypto space. Arnold Goldberg has been given the task of running Google’s payments division as part of a company-wide push into financial services, including crypto. Google’s president of commerce Bill Ready told Bloomberg that:“Crypto is something we pay a lot of attention to […] As user demand and merchant demand evolves, we’ll evolve with it.”Google Pay is an online payment system developed by Google to allow in-app, online and contactless purchases on mobile devices including Android phones, tablets and watches. As part of the overhaul, Google will focus more on being a “comprehensive digital wallet” that includes digital tickets, airline passes and vaccine passports, Ready said. Following the news, the price of Bitcoin (BTC) spiked to a high of $42,478 (from a 24-hour low of $41,254) before falling back down to $41,887 at the time of writing according to Coinmarketcap. Google has been dipping its toes in the crypto space for quite some time, partnering with several crypto companies through 2021. Ready said that the company plans to pursue more partnerships with more crypto companies. In April 2021, Google Pay announced a new partnership with global crypto exchange Gemini. The update allowed Gemini users to purchase Bitcoin through Google Pay using fiat currency on a debit or credit card.The tech giant also partnered with Coinbase in June, allowing customers of the exchange to pay for goods and services through Google Pay using their Coinbase Card. Users also were able to gain crypto rebates of up to 4% for their shopping. In Oct, a partnership between crypto exchange Bakkt and Google allowed customers of the exchange to purchase goods and services using some select cryptocurrencies through their Google Pay wallet. As for Paypal, it appears that the fintech company will be one man down as it explores the creation of its own stablecoin. Earlier this month, Paypal confirmed plans to launch “PayPal Coin,” which developer Steve Moser first found in the source code of the platform’s iPhone app. Related: Bakkt crypto exchange partners with Google for paymentsThis comes only three months after the tech giant axed its plans for a service called “Plex” that would allow users to create checking and savings accounts. “We’re not a bank — we have no intention of being a bank,” Ready said about the decision to cut Plex. “Some past efforts, at times, would unwittingly wade into those spaces.”Google Pay debuted in 2015, with a revamp in 2020 which transformed the platform into a hub where customers could track their expenses and hunt for discounts.

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a16z, Google lead $20M investment in Africa Web3 game publisher Carry1st

Web3 and social games publisher Carry1st has raised $20 million in Series A funding to further expand product development in Africa — a continent that could become the premier hub for the gaming industry over the next decade. The investment round was led by Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, which has been highly active in the blockchain space, with additional participation from Avenir and Google-parent Alphabet. Carry1st’s existing backers, including Riot Games, Konvoy Ventures, Raine Ventures and TTV Capital, also participated in the investment round. The cash injection will be used by Carry1st to expand its content portfolio, grow its in-house development team and spearhead a new growth strategy to attract tens of millions of new users. A key pillar of its growth strategy is developing infrastructure to support play-to-earn gaming, which allows users to monetize their gaming experience. Alphabet’s investment in Carry1st is part of its Africa digital transformation initiative, which was announced in October 2021 by CEO Sundar Pichai. At the time, Pichai identified Africa as a major growth driver for the digital economy with an estimated 300 million people expected to come online over the next five years. If existing trends are any indication, many of those new users will be gamers. As a leading publisher of social games in Africa, Carry1st appears to be in a unique position to capitalize on this potential. In addition to providing a full-stack publishing platform, the company develops games with embedded payments solutions and online marketplaces to support monetization. The company has publishing deals with several developer studios, including Tilting Point, the publisher of Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off and Sweden’s Raketspel. Africa is quickly asserting itself as one of the biggest consumer markets for peer-to-peer payments and decentralized networks. Several major economies in the region, including Nigeria, have embraced Bitcoin (BTC) for payments and remittances. Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis estimates that the continent’s crypto market grew 1,200% between 2020 and 2021. The gaming industry is expected to grow exponentially over the next 10 years, creating new opportunities for Web3 and play-to-earn business models. Related: Binance sponsors AFCON to further develop crypto adoption in AfricaAccording to research from Newzoo and Cary1st, the number of gamers in Sub-Saharan Africa is set to grow 275% over the next decade.

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Dogecoin and Ether rank in top 10 news searches on Google in 2021

Major cryptocurrencies Ether (ETH) and Dogecoin (DOGE) made the list of the world’s most searched terms in 2021 on GoogleOn Tuesday, Google released its traditional annual list of the top searches for the year, breaking them down into several categories, including searches, news, people, games, movies and others.According to Google Trends’ “Year in Search 2021,” Dogecoin was the fourth-most popular news search term on Google in 2021, both globally and separately in the United States. News related to the query “Ethereum Price” was ranked 10th.The cryptocurrencies are listed among the top searched news items, including topics like Afghanistan, AMC stock, COVID-19 vaccine, GME stock, stimulus check and others. Not a single cryptocurrency was featured on the list in 2020.It’s worth noting that Bitcoin (BTC), the most-valued cryptocurrency in the market, is not featured in any category of the “Year in Search 2021” either worldwide or in the United States.Top 10 news on Google Trends in 2021. Source: Google TrendsRelated: Survey says crypto popular holiday gift for Americans — NFTs not so muchLaunched in 2013, Dogecoin has emerged as one of the most successful cryptocurrencies in 2021, entering the list of the top 10 largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization earlier this year. DOGE’s price has skyrocketed this year, thanks in large part to endorsement fromTesla CEO Elon Musk, who started actively promoting DOGE on Twitter in 2020.At the time of writing, DOGE is up nearly 5,100% over the past 365 days, compared to 632% for Ether, according to data from CoinGecko. In contrast, Bitcoin is up around 160% over the past year.

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Former Google CEO is now a strategic advisor for Chainlink Labs

Eric Schmidt, the chief executive officer of Google until 2011 who later served as executive chair at the tech company and its parent firm Alphabet, has joined oracle solutions provider Chainlink Labs as a strategic advisor.According to a Tuesday announcement, Chainlink said Schmidt would guide the firm’s scaling strategy in its use of oracle networks to trigger smart contracts. Chainlink co-founder Sergey Nazarov cited Schmidt’s experience “building global software platforms for next-generation innovation” in the firm’s decision to bring the former Google exec on board.“The launch of blockchains and smart contracts has demonstrated tremendous potential for the building of new business models, but it has become clear that one of blockchain’s greatest advantages — a lack of connection to the world outside itself — is also its biggest challenge,” said Schmidt.In addition to his time at Google and Alphabet, Schmidt was chair of the Department of Defense’s Innovation board and chair of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, and served on the boards of Apple, Princeton University, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Mayo Clinic. With an estimated net worth of roughly $23.6 billion, Schmidt will likely be one of the wealthiest individuals acting as an advisor to a crypto firm. [embedded content]Related: Chainlink’s total value secured surpasses $75B as DeFi continues to surgeEarlier this year, Chainlink announced its Cross-Chain Interoperability Protocol, or CCIP, capable of using the platform’s oracles “to enable users to move digital assets and execute smart contracts across the various chains used throughout the metaverse.” According to the firm, it currently has more than $80 billion worth of value locked in smart contracts and applications built on blockchains.

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