Back in October 2017, rumors were rife that Amazon was about to step into the then-booming cryptocurrency market after it registered three domain names: AmazonEthereum.com, AmazonCryptocurrency.com, and AmazonCryptocurrencies.co. But things went quiet.
Recently, however, the rumor mill has been fired up again, with several articles claiming a coin is almost upon us. But, despite the hopeful optimists, an Amazon-owned cryptocurrency is extremely unlikely. The United States is the largest market for Amazon, which is also the same playground as the SEC, which has been clamping down on everything ICO and forcing crypto startups to repay investors. Its only option would be a security token to accredited investors, with high minimum investments. Instead, Amazon is following in the footsteps of other major companies, like IBM and Accenture, by partnering with Bitcoin-Ethereum hybrid Qtum to create blockchains designed for businesses.
Amazon Web Services already has blockchain-as-a-service partnerships with blockchain consortium R3 and Ethereum organization ConsenSys (which Decrypt Media is a part of, but editorially independent from). Now, it is working with Qtum, an Ethereum-based, smart-contract platform built on Bitcoin, as announced on October 18. This partnership will help to expand Amazon’s offering for enterprise customers and will allow developers to build on the cloud computing platform using Qtum.
This is more evidence that Amazon is choosing to go down the safer enterprise route, instead of creating its own coin. By providing the tools for companies to build their own blockchains and computer power to run them, it can profit from the blockchain boom without taking any of the regulatory risk. This avoids the potential pitfalls involved with running a cryptocurrency, let alone carrying out an ICO.
The partnership with Qtum enables developers to create smart contracts and launch them on Amazon Machine Images—a virtual server held on Amazon’s cloud computing network. It supports both Qtum Core and Solidity, the programming language used for Ethereum. Future plans for the platform include adding further features designed for developers and enterprise customers.
On October 16, Google partnered with CyberMiles to better facilitate the e-commerce blockchain network on its cloud computing platform. Now, Amazon has stepped up its blockchain offering on its own rival cloud service. Will these giants now be competing to attract the next generation of cryptocurrencies?