While Elon Musk has shitposted his way to crypto sainthood, Jack Dorsey has been preaching the blockchain faith with greater zeal to others. The majority of his most ardent official statements as CEO of Twitter — that he was until Monday when he abruptly left — have not focused on the strength of the Twitter platform or even the profound prospects for his other firm, financial behemoth Square.
The former double-CEO has spent the last year preaching the gospel of bitcoin and utilizing his multibillion-dollar businesses to do it by promoting crypto-friendly features more aggressively than his colleagues promote. He has not been shy with his words. In August, he tweeted, “Bitcoin will unify a profoundly divided country. (and eventually: the globe.)”
This year, at a bitcoin-focused conference in Miami, he was even more effusive in his praise: “Bitcoin changes everything for me.” The ethos, what it symbolizes, the conditions that created it, which are so uncommon, so unusual, and so valuable, are what I am drawn to the most about it, there isn’t anything more essential to work on in my lifetime, and I don’t believe there is anything more enabling for people all around the globe.”
His executive zeal drove both Twitter and Square to embrace bitcoin and blockchain-based features that embedded deep inside platforms used by millions of people. Dorsey stated in July that this would be a “significant component” of the company’s future. A hardware wallet for storing bitcoin and the research of constructing specialized bitcoin mining equipment are two recent Square projects.
For platforms with a slew of unsolved and often pressing issues, Dorsey’s seemingly unilateral public focus on bitcoin’s revolutionary power hasn’t always sat well with observers, who were already concerned that his dual-CEO status meant he was less in tune with the needs of his individual companies. After discreetly amassing a substantial interest in Twitter early last year, activist hedge fund Elliott Management submitted a list of requests to the firm, the most important of which was that Dorsey resigns down.
The news that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was stepping down sent the company’s shares skyrocketing on Monday. While some were relieved that Twitter would be able to reach its full potential with a full-time CEO, others wondered what Dorsey was up to and whether he was planning to leave Twitter to launch a “web3” firm focusing only on bitcoin and blockchain-based technology.
Rather than starting, a new firm from the ground up, it appears as if Dorsey is attempting to reimagine the existing stack of potential within his previous company, Square. He unveiled a major revamp on Wednesday, rebranding the fintech startup once known for its small plastic credit card dongles as Block, a not-so-subtle allusion to CEO/founder Dorsey’s growing obsession with the blockchain.
Square is not a penny stock like other public firms in the past, which might boost their stock price by adding “Blockchain” to their company name. It is currently valued at about $90 billion. At this point, it is important noting that Square has stated that the renaming would not be accompanied by a broad reorganization, albeit Square Crypto will have its own identity — Spiral.
Given Dorsey’s support for bitcoin and previous Square projects such as hardware wallets and mining rigs, it is tough not to read between the lines. In many ways, Block’s jumble of properties, which includes Tidal, music-streaming services, and the Cash App, appears to be a potential full-stack web3 empire, or it could simply be an opportunity to irritate many different stakeholders by haphazardly weaving crypto technologies into products that do not require them.