Square, the payment processing company founded by Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, has done a great deal to foster Bitcoin adoption in the United States and beyond.
However, with much attention being drawn to Bitcoin mining this year, the company is making yet another move into the space. This time, it’s about making mining even more inclusive.
Late in October, Dorsey announced via Twitter that Square will soon start looking into the possibility of creating an open-source Bitcoin mining system. In his tweet thread, Dorsey explained that Square’s goal is to make Bitcoin mining more decentralized, ensuring that everyone can take part in it and make money.
Bitcoin Mining for Everyone!
Dorsey pointed out that an increase in Bitcoin’s decentralization would only make the network itself stronger and more resilient. So, it is time for individual miners and companies to come together and mine the leading cryptocurrency. This way, transaction settlements on the Bitcoin network will be even stronger.
While Square will focus on making mining more inclusive, the company will also look into ways to improve mining efficiency through innovations in software and hardware production. The company would most likely not be looking to produce its own mining gear, but Dorsey believes that much can be done to make mining better and more efficient.
As part of his announcement, Dorsey also touched on issues related to vertical integration and silicon shortage. The goal of this initiative is to build a system that improves Bitcoin mining accessibility, with Dorsey explaining:
“Mining isn’t accessible to everyone. Bitcoin mining should be as easy as plugging a rig into a power source. There isn’t enough incentive today for individuals to overcome the complexity of running a miner for themselves.”
The initiative will be spearheaded by Square’s head of hardware Jesse Dorogusker. The hardware expert was the brains behind Square’s current crypto custody and hardware service, and Dorsey believes that the approach taken towards developing both services can be used in this new venture just as well.
Jack Now Mines Bitcoin Too
The push for Square to invest in mining decentralization appears to be due to Dorsey’s own experiences. In August, the billionaire tech mogul confirmed that he would be getting into a bit of Bitcoin mining on his own.
At the time, Dorsey said that his Bitcoin mining was possible thanks to help from Compass Mining - a service that supplies, hosts, and even operates mining rigs for individual miners. The company takes the stress of maintaining and running a mining rig off your shoulders, and they take their fees from your income. Even with a company like Compass helping you out, mining remains a difficult endeavor. With Square, more people may get the opportunity to mine and be a part of the Bitcoin environment.
Addressing Environmental Concerns is a Must
Square’s push into the mining space has been quite provincial this year. Back in June, the company partnered with mining firm Blockstream to develop a solar-powered Bitcoin mining facility. The partnership would see Square invest $5 million into the initiative, while Blockstream will leverage its experience and expertise to run the facility in full.
When Square and Blockstream announced their partnership, the crypto industry was in the midst of massive discussions over the possible impacts of Bitcoin mining on the environment. Tesla was taking fire after the company dropped Bitcoin as a payment option, but its actions caused a larger conversation to be had about how Bitcoin could negatively affect the environment - particularly, mining.
There is no doubt that actions like Square and Blockstream’s would help. But, more work remains if we’re to really make Bitcoin a cleaner phenomenon.
Interestingly, there are also questions about what Square might be trying to achieve. If the company actually succeeds in making Bitcoin mining more accessible to people, this could increase the coin’s carbon footprint even more. People won’t necessarily need to deal with the rising costs of mining, and anyone will be willing to contribute their computing power - no matter how small - if they can get some units of the coin. This will increase the Bitcoin network’s carbon footprint even more.
All of this just goes to show that initiatives to improve Bitcoin’s impacts on the environment are more important than ever. Environmental concerns are one of the many reasons why Bitcoin faces stiff competition on the legislative front, and it is becoming clearer that the industry can’t make much progress if these concerns aren’t addressed.