LONDON: Just days after stepping down from his role as CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey is ringing the changes at Square, the other major company he founded, which has changed its name to Block.
While Dorsey is a renowned crypto enthusiast, the rebrand is not all about the blockchain, according to the company: “The name has many associated meanings for the company — building blocks, neighborhood blocks and their local businesses, communities coming together at block parties full of music, a blockchain, a section of code, and obstacles to overcome,” Square said in a statement.
The new name for the holding company, which comes into effect around Dec. 10, does not reflect any organizational changes within the business, and its subsidiaries – Square, peer-to-peer payment service Cash App, music streaming service Tidal and its bitcoin-focused financial services unit TBD54566975 – will keep their brands.
The move comes just over a month after another Silicon Valley stalwart, Facebook, changed its name to Meta, for similar reasons: Mark Zuckerberg no longer wanted the range of brands, including Instagram, WhatsApp and its virtual reality headset Meta Quest (formerly Oculus), to sit under the umbrella of another company in the stable. It also gave Zuckerberg an opportunity to position the company for what he sees as the future: the Metaverse.
Dorsey sees a future dominated by cryptocurrencies. The single hashtag on his Twitter bio reads #bitcoin and he has invested a sizeable chunk of Square’s cash in the biggest cryptocurrency.
Square bought $50 million of bitcoin even before the wave of institutional interest that propelled the digital currency’s price to record highs this year. In February, it further raised its wager and invested another $170 million in it.
Square has also been weighing the creation of a hardware wallet for bitcoin to make its custody more mainstream.
At a Miami conference in June, Dorsey told the thousands of attendees: “If I weren’t at Square or Twitter, I’d be working on bitcoin.”
Square has a division devoted to working on projects and awarding grants with the aim of growing bitcoin’s popularity globally. Even at Twitter, he began pushing the decentralization project, including creating a team to construct a decentralized social media protocol, which will allow different social platforms to connect with one another, similar to the way email providers operate.
Twitter allows users to tip their favorite content creators with bitcoin and has been testing integrations with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of digital asset that allows people to collect unique digital art.
While Dorsey and Zuckerberg may seem to have a lot in common as creators of two of the world’s leading social media platforms, they haven’t always seen eye to eye, and Dorsey was critical of Facebook’s rebrand.
Soon after Zuckerberg announced his Metaverse vision, a Twitter user noted that the concept was first coined by science-fiction write Neal Stephenson as a virtual world owned by corporations where end users were treated as citizens in a dystopian corporate dictatorship. When the user asked: “What if Neal was right?” Dorsey responded: “He was.”