Is Crypto to Blame for Tech Companies’ Woes?
Third-quarter earnings are coming in below expectations, and tech companies are pointing the finger at crypto
As tech executives are forced to account for tumbling revenues to investors, a new scapegoat has emerged: crypto.
Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer, blamed the company’s growth slowdown in part on a drawdown in ad spending by crypto companies during a third quarter earnings call.
Semiconductor company AMD similarly pegged its own revenue disappointment, among other things, on falling demand for graphics processing units (GPUs) that can be used to mine crypto. Revolut, the upstart finance app, said crypto revenue fell from 30-35% to 5% of the company’s total since 2021.
Crypto has reached a milestone in its institutional adoption journey that most in the space would be happy to detour around.
“This is the first real quarter where you’re hearing these companies actively bringing up crypto as a reason for missed revenues,” Griffin McShane, head of insights and communication at MPCH Labs, said.
But crypto companies had to become intertwined with other tech companies for this revenue shortfall to happen in the first place.
In 2018’s crypto winter, Google was exceeding earnings expectations, regardless of whether crypto companies were purchasing ads. But as venture capital and talented young coders created excitement around the potential of blockchain, the rest of the tech economy had no choice but to shift toward crypto. In 2022, crypto and tech prices tend to move in tandem.
“If you’re running a profit-focused [tech] operation, you have to be supportive of blockchain and digital assets, because that seems to be where we are going,” David Tawil, CEO of ProChain Capital, said.
Crypto’s move to the mainstream has been fragmented and beset by unimpressive trading returns in 2022. Bitcoin mining, the original crypto-tech integration, was 80% less profitable Monday compared to a year ago.
But tech companies do seem to be headed in crypto’s direction, despite the revenue headaches. Meta and Reddit are integrating NFTs on their platforms. Google Cloud is launching new partnerships with the Ethereum and Solana communities.
Companies further from Web3 development are likely less affected by crypto’s rising and falling. Caterpillar, for example, hasn’t shown much desire to move its manufacturing to the blockchain, and metaverse real estate doesn’t need heavy equipment to build.
But in the tech sector, a world where every company sees itself partly as a crypto company may not be so far off.
“In many ways, I think we’re already there,” McShane said.
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