Just days after quitting Twitter as CEO, Jack Dorsey has renamed his payments company Square to “Block.” Its blockchain-related project Square Crypto will change its name to “Spiral.”
Brands the company has created or acquired over the years will mostly retain their current names, including Square itself, TIDAL, Cash App, and TBD54566975.
“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,” Dorsey said.
Block itself issued a statement saying its 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.”
Dorsey has long been criticized for not paying CEO-level attention to Twitter, which he co-founded in 2006. He was first removed from the CEO position in 2008, reportedly for that reason, before returning in 2015.
Dorsey has expressed a passion for BTC in recent years, saying “If I were not at Square or Twitter, I’d be working on Bitcoin.” For some time now, his official Twitter account bio read simply “#bitcoin”. This desire was evident to Twitter’s corporate investors, who sought to have him removed as CEO in March 2020 before agreeing to a deal that allowed him to stay in the CEO role.
He has engaged in several examples of classic BTC rhetoric, such as “We don’t need the banks anymore” and “What central banks are trying to do are just bumps in the road, and they’re bullshit. We have a much better alternative in bitcoin. We have designs for that sort of privacy and that freedom within it.”
The expectation is that Square/Block will now focus on more innovative fintech products and payment networks. But can we really expect anything truly great from it?
The many meanings of Block
Leaving Twitter will certainly enable Dorsey to concentrate more on the business he clearly loves more. “Block” is probably an appropriate name for a fintech company looking to focus more of its efforts on blockchain-related projects. However, the immediate association between Dorsey and Twitter instead conjures up thoughts of the Twitter block—a function frequently necessary to combat the abundance of spam and trolling the platform has become known for.
Despite the attempted allusions to building blocks, blockchains, and block parties, this is the association that springs to mind first. As for “Spiral,” it could also suggest a downward one.
Not dissimilar is “Blockstream,” a company that blocked BTC’s stream by lobbying to keep its transaction block size to 1-4MB. This has crippled BTC to a maximum of around seven on-chain transactions per second for the entire network (in reality more like 3-4), a laughable figure for a network promoting itself as the “future of money.”
BTC wants to block everything. @Blockstream want to create something other than bitcoin. By blocking all unauthorized use of their scamchain. This is not what bitcoin was designed for. pic.twitter.com/v2TwZ2cQna
— mmurfy (@m_murfy) December 2, 2021
For the record, Square Crypto/Spiral is playing a major part in the ongoing COPA lawsuit challenging Dr. Craig Wright’s copyright to the 2008 Bitcoin white paper—a corporate-friendly attempt to block Bitcoin’s creator from having any influence over its direction, in the name of “open patents”.
Twitter began as an open platform for free-for-all discussions and debates but is now hobbled by advertising and excessive censorship. Likewise, BTC started to with a promise to “free the economy, free the world”… then limited it to seven transactions a second and forced users to pay exorbitant fees.
See the pattern here? Twitter tried to solve its financial and trolling problems and killed everything that made it compelling in the first place. BTC tries to solve its (self-inflicted) scaling problems by offloading most of its transactions to off-chain, third-party networks that haven’t functioned well and reducing transparency (for the corrupt as well as the honest).
Names and purposes have changed in the pursuit of riches and mass appeal, but after a while it becomes clear that a project’s original vision was the better one. It was true for Twitter, and it’s true for Bitcoin too.
Watch: CoinGeek New York panel, Blockchain: The Future of Technology Building on Achievements of the Past
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