Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter and payment processors Square, has been one of the most notable names in tech to throw their weight fully behind Bitcoin. The billionaire has done a great deal to draw awareness to the currency, while also building initiatives to make spending and investing in Bitcoin much easier.
Last week, Dorsey sat down for a virtual conference with Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Cathie Wood, the CEO of investment firm Ark Invest. The conferences, tagged “The B Word,” saw the three people come together to share their visions for cryptocurrencies and what they believe to be the state of the industry at this point.
Bitcoin for Twitter Ads?
While Musk had the biggest soundbites, Dorsey also shared some significant insights. The billionaire has been bullish on Bitcoin alone, explaining that he doesn’t own any other cryptocurrency. But, his devotion to Bitcoin has seen him and his companies take different approaches to improve the asset and its use cases for everyone.
At the conference, Dorsey especially pointed out that he still believes in Bitcoin being the native currency of the internet. He explained that the asset can help businesses to grow, regardless of their scale or industry. Even more prominently, Dorsey pointed to Twitter and his belief that the company would not have been so dependent on revenues from advertisers if Bitcoin had existed before Twitter got founded.
Advertising makes a significant chunk of the revenues earned by social media companies - especially Facebook and Twitter. However, if Bitcoin had existed before these companies grew, they could have had opportunities to integrate it into their services - and perhaps even invest in it.
Musk eventually picked up on that and asked Dorsey why Twitter hasn’t simply allowed advertisers on its platform to get paid in crypto. Dorsey explained that he believes advertisers can use any payment method they would like since that is part of the freedom that the company espouses. However, he noted that he remains focused on creating economic incentives in Twitter’s network that won’t be so dependent on advertising.
Dorsey’s answer didn’t seem to please Musk, who continued to ask that Twitter incorporate Bitcoin into its ad structure. Musk stressed that it is important to allow more “off-ramps,” through which users can translate cryptocurrencies into real products and services. Musk added that accepting Bitcoin for payments in Bitcoin - and possibly several other assets - would show that Twitter is very supportive of crypto.
Building for the Future
The Twitter CEO simply shrugged off the notion, although he has continued to state the importance of Bitcoin to the company’s future. At the second-quarter investor call later that week, Dorsey explained that Bitcoin will play a big role in Twitter’s future as they look to transform their services and products.
Speaking about Bitcoin’s role as the internet’s native currency, Dorsey explained that there are many opportunities to integrate it into their existing services - including subscriptions, commerce, and other features like Super FOllows and the Tip Jar.
Dorsey added that a lot of Bitcoin-enabled innovation moves beyond the work of just currency. With Twitter being committed to social media decentralization and economic incentives, Bitcoin - as well as decentralization and artificial intelligence - will be a prominent part of the company’s future. While he pointed out that several other tech firms are moving into the crypto space, he explained that Twitter is different as they only focus on Bitcoin and nothing more.
Square’s Bitcoin Plays
Dorsey’s companies are also moving aggressively into other sectors of the crypto space. This month, the CEO confirmed that Square will create an open developer platform that focuses on decentralized finance (DeFi) services. In a Twitter thread, Dorsey explained that the division’s goal will be to create non-custodial, permissionless, and decentralized financial services on the Bitcoin network.
Mike Brock, who previously led a team to integrate Bitcoin features for Square’s Cash App back in 2018, will lead this new division. It is a pretty important one, too - for all its benefits, the Bitcoin network currently doesn’t have smart contract capabilities. This means that it is very difficult for the network to compete with DeFi and other components that are based on the Ethereum blockchain.
Building DeFi on Bitcoin will need additional tools like sidechains and bridges to initiate smart contracts. By bridging this gap, Square could ramp up adoption and create an environment where Bitcoin competes more with Ethereum for use in areas like DeFi and even non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
Dorsey has also announced that Square will build a Bitcoin hardware wallet. Jesse Dorogusker, the hardware lead at Square, will spearhead the project. Dorogusker explained that Square is looking to make Bitcoin custody more mainstream. The hardware wallet will offer assisted custody features, making it easier for users to hold their assets.
Dorsey and his companies are fully invested in Bitcoin, and he’s not stopping anytime soon.