A Reluctant Crypto Advocate Becomes a Less Reluctant Leader
It’s no secret that certain tech giants aren’t huge fans of crypto. In fact, Tesla founder Elon Musk has openly mocked the crypto community at times, tweeting jokes about Ethereum. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has been decidedly more open to the idea of crypto, engaging with enthusiasts on his platform. Still, his general attitude has been somewhat reluctant. However, he is now turning a corner.
Surrendering to Mass Adoption
In addition to heading up Twitter, Dorsey is also the head honcho at Square, a popular mobile payment system used by small businesses and others. For instance, if a hairstylist does house calls but wants to receive credit card payments from clients, he can sign up with Square to use their system for processing. For many freelancers, Square has revitalized and revolutionized their business models. Many of those who used to require cash for payment are now using Square, making life easier for both clients and customers. It probably comes as no surprise that such a valuable system is worth a whopping $32.7 billion. But the one thing that Square does not do, at this moment, is accept cryptocurrency as a payment option. Just this week, they announced plans to remedy this.
“Took Some Time, But Getting There”
It was just a six-word tweet, but for those in the crypto community, it was like a godsend. When Jack Dorsey unleashed this brief missive, he was retweeting Square’s statement that they would be helping to build an open-source ecosystem that would make mass adoption “inevitable”. To leaders in the crypto community — and those outside of it — this was a bold statement. After all, Jack Dorsey has always been regarded as a thought leader who possesses an innate understanding of where the world is headed. If Bitcoin and other altcoins were not going to become major world currencies in the coming years, Dorsey would not have laid the groundwork for making Square accept them. At some point, one would surmise, Dorsey became convinced that crypto is the way of the future. He assessed the situation and realized that, if Square wanted to remain relevant in the future, the payment system would need to accept crypto. His commitment to building up the Bitcoin ecosystem speaks volumes about just how valuable Dorsey believes crypto will be in the near future.
A March Tweet That Got People Talking
Back in March, Dorsey appealed to the crypto community to help him find some very special new employees. Their perks would be plentiful. These new Square employees — three or four engineers and a designer — would be able to work from anywhere in the world and would be compensated in Bitcoin. Furthermore, for added cache, they would report directly to Dorsey himself. Based on these requests, it would appear that Dorsey’s attitude has shifted from a passing interest to something he’s willing to which he’s willing to allocate many resources. With a crypto expert bending his ear on a consistent basis, Dorsey would also learn a lot more.
“Just Like the Early Internet!”
In another tweet, Dorsey compared the rise of crypto to the infancy of the internet. This is an apt comparison, as there are certainly similarities in the Wild West mentality. Also, it’s a good strategy for Dorsey to adopt, because there are still many in tech who have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) due to being either too young to catch the dot com craze or too oblivious to realize that social media would become the next great revolution. For those people, the ones who are looking to cash in on something big and play a role in a system that will transform the future, it’s all about crypto. In his communications, Dorsey has expressed that he finds the crypto community to be both deeply principled and weird, indicating that he believes these were also qualities of the early internet.
Is Dorsey Altruistic or Just Savvy When It Comes to Making Money?
In his pleas to Crypto Twitter, Dorsey has entreated those who are working on crypto in their spare time to come aboard with him and make it their full-time pursuit. He has positioned himself as a crypto advocate who wants to advance digital currencies to improve the world. And while this may be true, it should also be stated that Dorsey must see many opportunities to increase his cash flow in this brave new world. And Dorsey’s Cash App, it should be noted, already permits the sale and purchase of Bitcoin. This feature raked in a whopping $65 million last year, which is no small sum.
Meeting with Job Candidates and Moving Forward
In late March, Square Crypto launched its very own Twitter account and waved hello to the world. Unsurprisingly, it seems as if the new account was deluged with direct messages. In April, Dorsey tweeted about meeting the first candidate for one of his crypto positions. And Square Crypto promptly debunked the rumor that cryptocurrency is just a passing fad with a tweet about just how many referrals and applications they’d received for the job listings they’d posted. Although progress with this team seems to be somewhat slow, it’s steady.
An Air of Secrecy
Dorsey isn’t the only billionaire tech giant thinking about crypto these days. With Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg building a stablecoin called Libra, it seems like a serendipitous time to launch. And just like Libra, Dorsey’s crypto machinations are staying somewhat under wraps. The rumors, however, would indicate that Dorsey will be partial to including the Lightning Network in his blueprint for Square Crypto. As a second-layer protocol, Lightning Network strives to make BTC payments as fast and efficient as possible. Dorsey seems quite bullish on Lightning Network, sinking over two million of his funds into Lightning Labs. On Twitter, he made it known that he was participating in a torch-passing experiment, receiving a small amount of BTC and then sending in on to Lightning Labs chief Elizabeth Stark.
The Importance of Design
One of the hurdles crypto has faced is that hot wallets and exchanges often appear clunky, disorganized and confusing to novices. Square Crypto rails against this, proclaiming that there will never be mass adoption until better design exists. This is why Dorsey has been so enthused about the idea of hiring a designer who will hone in on UX, allowing crypto to become accessible to everybody. And if anyone is able to assess ways in which design can move projects forward, it’s Dorsey. At Twitter and at Square, he made sure that his products boasted clean, effortless designs that are constantly revamped to improve user experience.
When the Personal Becomes Public
Last year, when Dorsey appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast, he revealed that he had been spending approximately $10,000 a week on crypto himself. One might surmise that his recent bullishness may have to do with the fact that he now feels he has skin in the game. Furthermore, he has now witnessed some of the hoops that people need to jump through to acquire crypto these days. As a CEO who excels at providing solutions, Dorsey may just be the right type of champion to help put crypto on the map in a meaningful way. If anything, though, Dorsey has always been a realist. He knows that revamping the crypto wheel is going to take time. Unlike the way in which Twitter exploded across the internet and across mobile devices, this is going to require an astounding amount of effort and resources. The technology isn’t quite there yet, but once it is, Dorsey will be happy to shepherd his followers toward a payment solution that works for everyone on the planet. And Dorsey’s involvement just goes to prove that Bitcoin is truly the way of the future.