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Google hires new blockchain division chief

·1 min read

Shivakumar Venkataraman joins a growing list of Indian-origin appointments at top firms, following his new role as head of Google’s new blockchain division.

The 52-year-old engineer follows the likes of Leena Nair at Chanel, Parag Agrawal at Twitter, CS Venkatakrishnan at Barclays and his boss Sundar Pichai, with all four individuals CEO of their respective companies.

Venkataraman joined the tech company in 2003 as he soon took the lead of its core search advertisement business before being promoted to vice president of Google Labs.

The engineer will assume responsibility of the company’s research into virtual and augmented reality.

The promotion of Venkataraman into a recently-revived Google Labs organisation demonstrates the tech giant’s determination to venture into the cryptocurrency industry.

Google executive Bill Ready said the company will evolve with user and merchant demand.

“Crypto is something we pay a lot of attention to,” he revealed.

“As user demand and merchant demand evolves, we’ll evolve with it.”

Google’s crypto journey

Venkataraman’s new role isn’t the only move the tech giant has made towards exploring the world of cryptocurrency.

The tech firm hired former PayPal executive Arnold Goldberg to run Google Pay and help expand the payment service into crypto.

Google Pay’s partnership with Coinbase this past year allowed customers of the exchange to pay for goods and services through the payment service using their Coinbase Card.

In Q4 of 2021, Google Pay secured a partnership with Bakkt, a Bitcoin and digital asset custodian, that would enable Bakkt users to use virtual Visa Debit cards with the online payment service.