Jack Dorsey's Square is Undergoing a Big Rebrand
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Jack Dorsey's Square is Undergoing a Big Rebrand

4 Minuten
1 year ago

The big rebrand came two days after the payment company's CEO sensationally announced he was leaving Twitter after 16 years.

Jack Dorsey's Square is Undergoing a Big Rebrand

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Square has announced that it is changing its name to Block.

The big rebrand came two days after the payment company's CEO, Jack Dorsey, announced he was leaving Twitter after 16 years.

It's being seen as a statement of intent — with speculation running rife that Dorsey intends to focus on Bitcoin now he has left his full-time role at the social network.

Square initially launched in 2009, and is best known for helping businesses accept card payments. Since then, it has branched out — unveiling the mobile payment service Cash App for consumers in 2013. This year, it started to build a blockchain-focused platform called TBD54566975… and bought the embattled streaming service TIDAL for a cool $300 million.

In a news release, Block said the new name "creates room for further growth" as it seeks to serve "businesses united by their purpose of economic empowerment" — not to mention an array of individuals, artists, fans, developers and sellers. 

The rebrand will see the company's legal name change from Square, Inc. to Block, Inc. in the next eight days, but executives stressed that the likes of Cash App and TIDAL will keep their respective brands. 

One notable exception is Square Crypto, which is now going to be known as Spiral. The initiative aims to simplify the world of crypto so developers can add the Lightning Network — a layer-two protocol that increases transaction capacity on the Bitcoin blockchain — to "almost anything."

It comes about one month after Facebook, Inc. declared it was changing its name to Meta — with Mark Zuckerberg signaling that he wants the tech giant to start focusing on the metaverse. The platforms it owns — Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — kept their names.

All of this indicates that radical rebrands are now the hottest trend in Silicon Valley. While it could serve as a useful tool for executives who want to realign their missions and put their companies on a new path, it may only serve to confuse consumers and investors.

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Why Block?

Square's rebirth as Block has raised eyebrows and ruffled some feathers, while leaving crypto enthusiasts excited for the future. Dorsey said in the news release:

"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."

And explaining the meaning behind the shiny new name, the announcement added:

"The 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."

Clever. Very clever, indeed.

Alas, any rebrand of this magnitude does come with some headaches.

Dorsey's reign at Twitter meant that the company had little trouble snapping up the @Square handle. Unfortunately, Block is having to settle for @blocks as its new username — and that's because @block is currently occupied by another user. To add insult to injury, this user doesn't even seem to be particularly active — they only have 146 followers and their tweets are protected.

Block's arrival could also create trouble for a number of other crypto companies that feature the word "Block" in their title.

One of them, the financial services platform BlockFi, jokingly announced that it planned to become SquareFi "effective immediately" — and even updated its Twitter username.

Under Dorsey's leadership, Square has long been enthusiastic about Bitcoin's potential.  

The company owns 8,027 BTC — purchasing 4,709 BTC in October 2020 and 3,318 BTC in February of this year. It's an investment that's paid off handsomely given how this crypto haul is worth a cool $451 million, but turbulence earlier this year prompted the company to declare that it has "no plans" to add further BTC to its treasury.

Square (now Block) has also been an early mover in offering Bitcoin purchases to consumers through Cash App — entering into high-profile partnerships with a number of sports stars.

Figures show Bitcoin revenue came in at $1.82 billion for the third quarter of 2021 — up 115% from the same period 12 months earlier. This generated gross profit of $42 million, a year-on-year increase of 29%.
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