Sergey Brin, the co-founder of tech giant, Google, and one of the richest people in the world, said on July 8 that he is mining Ethereum’s token, ether.
Brin’s Interest in Ethereum
Brin, who is also the president of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, made the revelation at the Blockchain Summit held at Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island. Brin said he is doing the mining with his son, which is somewhat interesting given the fact that his son is only ten years old. This information reached the wider public with the help of Forbes’ Michael del Castillo, who was reporting on the summit.
As a panelist at the summit, Brin touched upon Zcash’s zero-knowledge proofs which have been part of Ethereum’s operations, calling them “really mindboggling.” Zero-knowledge proofs are “based on an algorithm that takes some data as input and returns either ‘true’ or ‘false’,” concealing all other information.
In the words of MIT researchers who first proposed the notion of zero-knowledge in 1985, “A zero-knowledge protocol is a method by which one party (the prover) can prove to another party (the verifier) that something is true, without revealing any information apart from the fact that this specific statement is true.”
According to EU MEP Eva Kaili, who also attended the summit, Brin said he could see the future in these “mind-blowing technologies.” Brin had already expressed his interest in Ethereum in the 2017 annual Alphabet founders’ letter. In the letter, he acknowledges the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) and cryptocurrency mining in the advancement of the technological age, saying the circumstances over the past ten years and various new developments in the digital world have resulted in a situation he likened to a “technological renaissance.”
“Every month, there are stunning new applications and transformative new techniques. In this sense, we are truly in a technology renaissance, an exciting time where we can see applications across nearly every segment of modern society,” Brin said.
Google’s Crypto-Related Bans
Despite Brin’s overwhelming enthusiasm toward Ethereum’s algorithms, his own company has a bit of a different approach to crypto assets. In March 2018, Google announced its plans to ban cryptocurrency advertising, due to pressure coming from the FBI.
Moreover, Google has banned cryptocurrency mining browser extensions from its Chrome Web Store as of April 2018. Google based its decision on the fact that it had discovered that most extensions with mining scripts did not comply with conditions that the user is “adequately informed” and that this shall be the “extension’s single purpose.”
Google has allowed any other blockchain-related extensions that exclude cryptocurrency mining in its store.
What is Ethereum?
Created by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum is an open-source, public, blockchain-based, distributed computing platform that runs smart contracts, applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud, or third-party interference.
Ethereum also provides a cryptocurrency token, ether, which can be transferred between accounts and used to compensate participant nodes for computations performed. The Ethereum Wallet is a gateway to decentralized applications on the Ethereum blockchain. It enables users to hold and secure ether and other crypto-assets built on Ethereum, as well as to write, deploy, and use smart contracts.