Google expands Bitcoin services through Voltage partnership

(BPT) - A few years ago, cryptocurrencies seemed to be a niche form of payment that many were skeptical would catch on. Now, the tide has turned and Venmo, Paypal, Zelle and other payment platforms have embraced digital currency, with Bitcoin leading the charge. As individuals and businesses continue to explore Bitcoin's possibilities, mobile app integration of this cryptocurrency has become necessary. However, not all companies are embracing the currency of the Internet.

Tech giants differ on Bitcoin integration

In mid-June, Apple issued Damus, a social network platform, an ultimatum: Remove Bitcoin tipping from its app or be banned from the App Store. According to screenshots posted by Damus's Twitter account, Apple will require users to tip using Apple's in-app purchase system, which imposes a 30% fee on each transaction.

This isn't the first time the tech giant has banned cryptocurrency. In 2013, Apple removed Bitcoin-based apps from the App Store, angering many users, but reversed the policy ban a year later.

While Apple continues to resist Bitcoin integration on its platform, its competitor has embraced the digital currency. Google Cloud, a suite of cloud-based computing services, has partnered with Voltage, a Lightning as a Service (LaaS) provider for Bitcoin, to allow customers to create Bitcoin and Lightning nodes around the world.

By leveraging the Lightning Network's real-time payment settlement with near zero fees, Google is empowering organizations and individuals to send and receive payments and creating new business models and experiences, according to Google Cloud's announcement.

Facilitating peer-to-peer transactions

The purpose of Bitcoin and the Lightning Network is to create an infrastructure for peer-to-peer (p2p) transactions. In an increasingly internet-forward world, p2p transactions can be crucial, especially for people who do not have bank accounts.

According to the Global Findex Database, 1.4 billion adults worldwide remain unbanked, and without a bank account, these individuals end up paying high fees to access financial services securely. Also, unbanked individuals have a much harder time utilizing credit.

With p2p transactions, unbanked and underbanked consumers have the means and freedom to participate in their local and the global economy. With the addition of p2p Bitcoin transactions, unbanked and underbanked consumers have access to a payment that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has said is more secure than credit and debit card payments.

Integrating Bitcoin p2p transactions is good for businesses, too. Voltage says that a Lightning Network solution that facilitates real-time payments can enable organizations to send and receive payments while creating new experiences and business models. The LaaS provider believes micropayments can be used to improve retention, decrease customer acquisition costs and increase the lifetime value of customers.

By partnering with Voltage to expand its Bitcoin services, Google has acknowledged the importance of user choice and cryptocurrencies' role in the evolving digital landscape. To learn more about Google Cloud and Voltage's partnership and the Lightning Network, visit Voltage.Cloud.