Jack Dorsey's Square changes name to Block in nod to blockchain

In recent months, Mr Jack Dorsey has revved up Square's efforts in several cryptocurrency-related areas. PHOTO: REUTERS

SAN FRANCISCO (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - Square is changing its corporate name to Block as it looks to expand beyond its payment business and into new technologies like blockchain.

The company, co-founded and run by Twitter co-founder and cryptocurrency enthusiast Jack Dorsey, will continue to call its seller product Square, and the new corporate identity will not lead to any organisational changes. The company's stock ticker - SQ - will also stay the same.

Mr Dorsey - who resigned as chief executive at Twitter earlier this week - has long wanted to build the start-up from a digital payments company into a broader organisation with a number of standalone business units. In that vein, Square recently acquired Tidal, the music streaming service led by rapper Jay-Z, and started a financial services division focused on Bitcoin called TBD54566975. (That unit's name was derived from a positive numerology report linked to the number.)

The company also owns Cash App, a consumer payments and investing product, and Square, its original sales and register service used by small businesses. As the company expanded, it became confusing to have a corporate name that overlapped with just one of its businesses. It is the same strategy that social media giant Meta Platforms adopted last month, when it changed its name from Facebook to widen the focus from its flagship product.

"We built the Square brand for our seller business, which is where it belongs," Mr Dorsey said on Wednesday (Dec 1) in a 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."

The name Block has a number of inspirations. "Building blocks, neighbourhood 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's statement said.

Linking the name Block to blockchain - the decentralised technology underlying cryptocurrencies and other digital assets - will certainly make sense to people who follow Mr Dorsey. The CEO is a Bitcoin fanatic, and often tweets about the cryptocurrency and blockchain-related technologies. Square Crypto, a project aimed at advancing Bitcoin, will now be called Spiral.

Mr Dorsey's departure from the helm of Twitter this week led to speculation that he would be focusing more of his attention on Square - now Block - and its effort to move into new businesses and popularise digital currencies and use of the blockchain.

In recent months, Mr Dorsey has revved up Square's efforts in several cryptocurrency-related areas. In October, he tweeted that Square is considering building a Bitcoin-mining system based on custom silicon that could be used by people and companies worldwide.

Last month, Square published a white paper describing plans for a decentralised cryptocurrency exchange for trading Bitcoin, fiat money or real-world goods.

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