Square changes its name to Block after Dorsey steps down as Twitter CEO to focus on Bitcoin

    04 Dec 2021

    A few days after Jack Dorsey’s resignation as Twitter CEO, payments giant Square announced changing its name to Block Inc., the company said in a statement. Jack Dorsey’s Bitcoin funding initiative Square Crypto has rebranded to Spiral and is aimed to focus on “making Bitcoin the planet’s preferred currency.”

    The corporate rebrand, announced in a Wednesday statement, comes only a couple of days after Dorsey said he would step down as CEO of Twitter, which he co-founded 15 years ago.

    “The change to Block acknowledges the company’s growth. Since its start in 2009, the company has added Cash App, TIDAL, and TBD54566975 as businesses, and the name change creates room for further growth,” the company said.

    Square Inc. is expected to be legally changed to Block Inc. on December 10, but the company’s NYSE ticker symbol, SQ, will not change. Square, Cash App, TIDAL, and TBD will maintain their respective brands.

    Spiral and TBD are two initiatives under the Block’s umbrella that focus entirely on Bitcoin. While Spiral is dedicated to building and funding “open-source projects aimed at making Bitcoin the planet’s preferred currency,” TBD is currently focused on developing a decentralized Bitcoin exchange.

    “Once Square decided to rebrand, we knew it was time for our own long-overdue rebrand,” per Spiral’s website. “After all, Square Crypto was never the best name for our team.”

    Having “Square” tied to its name “drew a direct line between the corporate benefactor we are supposed to be independent of and us,” Spiral said. On the other hand, having “crypto” in its name led to confusion, as the company is focused solely on Bitcoin.

    An intention to better separate Square’s many product lines and offerings was also the backbone reason for the corporate rebranding to Block. As a result, Square will now only represent Block’s Seller business.

    “We built the Square brand for our Seller business, which is where it belongs,” Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Block, said in the statement. “Block is a new name, but our purpose of economic empowerment remains the same. No matter how we grow or change, we will continue to build tools to help increase access to the economy.”

    Tom Lee, the head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, told CNBC that the changing of the guard at Twitter is “bullish for crypto.”

    “There isn’t enough capital actually allocated toward crypto innovation, so it takes people like Jack Dorsey to really marshal focus,” Lee said Monday on CNBC.

    Square has also dialed up its crypto-focused projects this year. With Dorsey now free of his responsibilities at Twitter, many are keen to see what crypto tasks Square chooses to take on next.

    The company launched Bitcoin trading in 2018 with the Cash App, allowing users to buy and sell Bitcoin. In 2019, the company formed Square Crypto, an independent team dedicated to contributing to Bitcoin open-source work. Last year, Square launched the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA), a non-profit organization that pools patents to encourage crypto innovation.

    Square said in July it was creating a new business dedicated to building decentralized finance (DeFi) applications for Bitcoin, which Dorsey described as “an open developer platform with the sole goal of making it easy to create non-custodial, permissionless, and decentralized financial services.”

    In October, the Square CEO said the company might jump into the Bitcoin mining business. Earlier this month, the payments company released a white paper detailing plans to launch “tbDEX,” its own decentralized exchange for buying and selling cryptocurrencies.

    The payments giant is also building its own hardware wallet to “make Bitcoin custody more mainstream.”

    Square has put Bitcoin on its balance sheet, attributing the choice to an alignment of values. The company recorded a fair value of $351.7 million on its Bitcoin investment as of Sept. 30.

    “We believe that Bitcoin has the potential to be a more ubiquitous currency in the future,” said Square’s Chief Financial Officer, Amrita Ahuja, in a statement. “As it grows in adoption, we intend to learn and participate in a disciplined way. For a company that is building products based on a more inclusive future, this investment is a step on that journey.”

    Investments such as these come at a critical time for the crypto industry.

    “I don’t think the space is over-invested yet,” Lee said. “Crypto is the intersection of financial services and technology. That’s literally 60% of the economy.”

    The new corporate name “Block” resembles blockchain, hinting at the growing focus on the crypto world. While the company’s new logo is also a 3D interactive object – a reference to the building blocks of the metaverse, which is rapidly increasing in popularity. Recently, virtual land has sold for millions on different platforms, and prominent names have begun endorsing it as well.

    Square’s foray into the metaverse is unsurprising, given that so many established firms are leaning into it. The most notable of these is Meta, which has put aside $50 million for metaverse research. The social nature of the metaverse would be in line with the company’s overall strategy. So, it appears that the metaverse is the next step in the crypto space, which has shown no signs of slowing down.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *