Square Crypto Rebrands to ‘Spiral’ to “Reflect Focus on Bitcoin,” Square is Rebranding to “Block”

Square Crypto Rebrands to ‘Spiral’ to “Reflect Focus on Bitcoin,” Square is Rebranding to “Block”

After stepping down from his role as CEO of Twitter on Monday, Square co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey said this week that the payments company is now changing its name to Block Inc. to expand into new technologies like crypto.

The new brand would distinguish the corporate entity from its payments businesses, much like Facebook did as it changed its name to Meta, as Square had become synonymous with its seller business.

Besides the name there would be no organizational changes and its different business units will continue to maintain their respective brands. This includes Square which has Bitcoin on its balance sheet, the peer-to-peer payment service CashApp that supports Bitcoin buying and selling, its bitcoin-focused financial services segment TBD54566975, and music streaming service Tidal. The company said in a statement,

“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.”

The San Francisco-based company also said on Wednesday that Square Crypto would now also change to Spiral.

“This rebrand reflects their focus on bitcoin as it continues to grow like a spiral from a single point, encompassing more and more space until it touches everything,” it added.

The new name would be effective from about Dec. 10 but the “SQ” ticker symbol it trades under on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) won’t change at this time. This new name, the company said “acknowledges the company’s growth” and “creates room for further growth.”

In other news, Squares’ Cash App now supports the latest Bitcoin upgrade taproot. Last month, the company had said that it would add support for Taproot by December 1. As such, all its users can now send Bitcoin to Taproot-enabled wallets. This support offers its users reduced transaction fees and increased privacy.

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Author: AnTy

Kimchi Premium & P2P Crypto Trading in South Korea Spikes, FSC Taxing NFTs & Banning NFT Games

Amidst the regulatory headwind, SK Square, the investment arm of a telecom giant, became the 2nd-largest shareholder of crypto exchange Korbit, while Upbit’s parent company buys a stake in the bank Woori Financial.

The Financial Services Commission (FSC) of South Korea wants the National Assembly to bring criminal liability to price manipulation, insider trading, and other unfair behavior in crypto markets, according to a report submitted to the South Korean Parliament earlier last week.

The National Assembly has ordered the FSC to develop a comprehensive draft bill on crypto in a month.

The FSC report will be used to draft crypto legislation, and its recommendations call for punishments relative to the gains obtained unfairly, with a minimum of one year in prison and fines 3-5 times the illicit gains.

The agency, however, also wants crypto service providers to form an association so that they can regulate themselves.

NFTs Under Scrutiny

FSC has also called for taxes on some types of NFTs. Earlier this month, some FSC officials have said that NFTs would not be subject to the crypto tax, but now FSC Vice Chairman Do Gyu-sang said in no uncertain terms that “The Ministry of Strategy and Finance is preparing tax provisions for NFTs in accordance with the Special Reporting Act.”

Additionally, the regulators are banning NFT-applied games in the country on concerns that they could fuel gambling addiction among teens and the younger generation.

“It’s not the blockchain technology that we are banning,” an unnamed official at South Korea’s Game Rating And Administration Committee told Reuters. “What we are saying ‘no’ to is the application of NFT that can be connected to real assets.”

Despite the local regulatory hurdle, local game developers are looking to cash in on the NFT boom, with NCSoft Corp saying earlier this month that it is ready to release a game that includes blockchain and NFT elements next year.

P2P Trading Spikes

South Korea is set to implement a 20% tax on crypto gains over KRW 2.5 million ($2,100) starting next year, but both the ruling and opposition parties are calling for an extension to the deadline.

Reportedly, both parties have effectively agreed on the amendment to the Income Tax Act, which suspends the taxation of virtual assets for one year, to begin on January 1, 2023.

Last week, this sent the kimchi premium to over 8.5% — the highest since May this year — which has come down to 5.3% on Monday. The most popular crypto assets on the largest South Korean exchange Upbit are SAND trading at $7.80 and Bitcoin $60,430, while on Binance, BTC is around $57,600, as of writing.

While crypto regulations are getting more strict, interest in crypto isn’t affected though trading has shifted to P2P exchange platforms.

According to recent data from LocalBitcoins, more than 353 million Korean Won (just under $300k) were traded in the first week of this month.

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Integrating with traditional finance

Amidst the regulatory headwind, SK Square, a new investment company under South Korean giant SK Telecom, announced on Monday that it had become the second-largest shareholder of Korbit by investing about 90 billion won ($75.5 million) to acquire a 35 percent stake.

The exchange recorded about 3,584 trillion won in crypto transactions between January and September this year, about 450 trillion won greater than the transaction value of the Kospi, the major stock market index of South Korea, during the same period.

Meanwhile, Upbit’s parent company Dunamu has become a shareholder of Woori Bank, one of the largest banks in South Korea. Last week, Dunamu purchased 1% of Woori Financial for $81.7 million from Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Thanks to the crypto market gains since last year, Dunamu has accumulated more than a trillion Korean won ($900 million) worth of cash equivalents by the end of last year.

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Author: AnTy

Square has “No” Plans to Expand Beyond Bitcoin to Cover Other Cryptocurrencies, says CEO Jack Dorsey

Square has “No” Plans to Expand Beyond Bitcoin to Cover Other Cryptocurrencies, says CEO Jack Dorsey

Cash App generated $1.82 bln in Bitcoin revenue in Q3, making up 47% of Square’s total sales. The company is planning to offer a pay with Bitcoin feature through the App.

Jack Dorsey’s Square Inc reported a 60% rise in third-quarter gross profits at $1.13 billion, which was fueled by an increase in Bitcoin transactions on its peer-to-peer payment services Cash App.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, Square reported Cash App generating $1.82 billion in Bitcoin revenue, an 11% jump from a year earlier. Revenue from sales of Bitcoin represented 47% of Square’s total sales, though it only generated just 3.7% of Square’s gross profit, money collected via fees from Bitcoin transactions, in the third quarter.

However, the Bitcoin revenue and gross profit decreased from the previous quarter as relative stability in the price of the leading cryptocurrency resulted in low trading activity.

As a result, shares of Square (SQ) fell about 5% but are still up 14% this year so far.

Meanwhile, total net revenue rose 27% to $3.84 billion while its gross payment volume, i.e., transaction processed on Cash App, also jumped 27% to $3.7 billion.

The San Francisco-based digital payments company also has $170 million worth of Bitcoin on its balance sheet, acquired early this year.

What’s in store?

During the company’s Q3 earnings call, when asked if Square is looking to expand beyond Bitcoin and let users buy and sell other cryptos as well, CEO Dorsey had a clear “no” in answer to that.

“Our focus is on helping Bitcoin to become the native currency for the Internet.”

Towards that goal, the company is running several initiatives, including building a hardware wallet and exploring Bitcoin Mining, where they will introduce a consumer device to mine the crypto at home or in a business. Both the initiatives, Dorsey said, aims to help Bitcoin reach a mainstream audience while strengthening the network and ecosystem at the same time.

“We believe this focus is important. We believe it’s right. And a lot of it has to do with the resilience, the fundamentals, the principles that Bitcoin offers. And we also want to make sure that we’re giving back to the community as much as possible.”

TBD is another open developer platform that aims to make it easy to create permissionless, non-custodial, and decentralized financial (DeFi) services, for which a detailed plan will be shared later this month in a white paper.

The company is also planning to offer a pay with Bitcoin feature through Cash App Pay, where they are looking at lightning functionality.

Square also expanded its Cash App offering to teenagers in October, giving the company access to about 20 million teens in the U.S. alone, said Chief Financial Officer Amrita Ahuja. As of June, Cash App had a total of 40 million monthly customers.

“Those folks will represent a larger portion of spend in the coming years.”

“We can now meet an individual earlier on in their financial journey and grow with them over time.”

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Author: AnTy

Jack Dorsey’s Square Chooses Non-Aggression Patent Pact With OIN Membership

Continuing in its stride to engender the adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in general, payment facilitator Square has joined the Open Invention Network (OIN).

Square To Engender OSS Growth

In a Tuesday release, Open Invention Network (OIN) – an organization focused on ensuring open-source software (OSS) – announced the recent addition of Square to its community.

According to OIN, Square’s interest in the foundation shows that it is committed to patent non-aggression in OSS.

The cross-licensing platform boasts major backers like Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Sony, Toyota, and SUSE, enables community members to access patented tech inventions without paying and without the lawsuit.

Commenting on its decision in a Bloomberg special, the US payment giant noted that the step was necessary to avoid the legal challenges that almost toppled the smartphone industry some years earlier.

“We’re in just such a rapid time of growth, so many amazing things are happening without patents,” counsel at Square Max Sills noted.

“We want to avoid long-drawn-out legal battles.”

Square is not new to patent alliances and is a front-runner in the blockchain industry’s first Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA) formed a year ago. Similar to OIN, member platforms and companies promise not to go the legal route if a fellow member peruses their technology.

Crypto big wigs like Coinbase, Kraken, ARK Investment, SatoshiLabs, and several others have pledged their support for the initiative with the foundation solely focused on engendering blockchain technology.

Square Leaning Towards Crypto, Especially Bitcoin

Although Square has been forthwith in its intent to enable a blockchain-driven society of the future, principal founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has been leaning more on the top premier digital asset. A Bitcoin maximalist, Dorsey has not been shy in publicly supporting the high volatile asset and has added Bitcoin to Square’s corporate treasury.

Not satisfied, the social media owner of Twitter has also sought to engender enterprise adoption via conferences, with the most popular being the B-Word which took place last month.

Also, Square is reportedly weighing up launching a Bitcoin decentralized exchange (DEX) platform. According to the payments giant, users will choose from multiple payment options and exchange their traditional fiat for Bitcoin.

The DEX platform is expected to be managed by the company’s Bitcoin division called TBD. Commenting on the company’s DEX plans, project lead Mike Brock noted that stablecoins – digital assets meant to track fiat currencies – would play a crucial role in supplementing payments on scaling solutions like the Lightning Network.

Also, Square is planning to build a Bitcoin hardware wallet. Following a tweet by head of product development Jesse Dorogusker on making Bitcoin custody more mainstream, Dorsey retweeted with a short reply that Square will build a Bitcoin hardware wallet.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Square’s Bitcoin Revenue Tops $2.72 Billion in Q2 and Reports Impairment Loss of $45M

Square’s Bitcoin Revenue Tops $2.72 Billion in Q2 and Reports Impairment Loss of $45M

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey’s Square reported another profitable quarter with its Bitcoin yearly revenue surging 200% year over year to $2.72 billion from $875 million. Bitcoin gross profit meanwhile rose from $17 million to $55 million.

Square’s Cash App reported a “significant growth” of 3x YoY in bitcoin revenue, with bitcoin gross profit being 2% of it.

Total net revenue was $4.68 billion in the second quarter of 2021, up 143% YoY, and excluding bitcoin, the total net revenue was $1.96 billion, up 87% YoY.

In Q2, Cash App also reported a gross payment volume of $42.8 billion, up from $33.1 billion in Q1. The App also reached 40 million monthly transacting active customers in June.

In its Q2 financial letter to shareholders, the company noted that Bitcoin’s YoY growth was due to increases in the price of bitcoin and bitcoin actives and growth in customer demand.

However, Q2 saw bitcoin revenue and gross profit declining from Q1 due to relative price stability affecting the trading activity compared to prior quarters.

As for the $220 million investment in Bitcoin ($50 million in 4Q20 and $170 million was invested in 1Q21) that Square is holding on its balance sheet, resulting in the company reporting an impairment loss of $45 million, up from $25 million in Q1 due to Bitcoin being an indefinite-lived intangible asset which is subject to such loss if its fair value decreases the carrying value during the assessed period.

The San Francisco-based company mentions the impairment loss because GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) requires any decreases in market price below carrying value to be recognized. Still, no upward revisions are recognized when market price increases until Bitcoin has been sold.

Still, the fair value of Square’s investment in bitcoin was $281 million based on observable market prices as of June 30, 2021. This is $127 million greater than the carrying value of the investment.

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Author: AnTy

Jack Dorsey’s Square Starts Building ‘Mainstream Self-Custody’ Bitcoin Hardware Wallet Integrating with Smartphones

Jack Dorsey’s Square Starts Building ‘Mainstream Self-Custody’ Bitcoin Hardware Wallet Integrating with Smartphones

“We’re doing it,” said Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey, adding to his last months’ Twitter thread where he talked about his payment company Square considering making a hardware wallet for bitcoin.

Now just over a month later, Jesse Dorogusker, head of hardware at Square, said late on Thursday that they are going forward with their plan to make a hardware wallet for the leading cryptocurrency. He said in a Twitter thread,

“We have decided to build a hardware wallet and service to make bitcoin custody more mainstream.”

The plan, as Dorsey agrees with, is to have a hardware wallet for Bitcoin that integrates with smartphones.

As Dorsey announced the go-ahead with their bitcoin wallet plan, he responded that the idea is to make it so easy to use that even a grandma would be able to use it while ensuring that the company won’t be able to access these wallets.

He also said that they would be looking at adding the functionality for users to “dedicate a percentage of daily sales to auto invest in Bitcoin.”

While a lot of questions and issues to reconcile, the team is clear about the product direction, which Dorogusker said,

“bitcoin first, global distribution, multisig to achieve “assisted-self-custody, and prioritizing mobile use.”

Square will be moving on to the next step, which involves building a small, cross-functional team. And for this, they are hiring for key roles in hardware, software, security, and business and looking for people who want to “build mainstream self-custody” with them.

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Author: AnTy

Square Unveils New Initiative To Promote Bitcoin Inclusion

Financial payments firm Square Inc. has announced that it would distribute $5 million in grants to a newly created fund aimed at encouraging financial inclusion for historically under-resourced communities.

Black Bitcoin Billionaire Group Selected As First Recipient

The newly created fund dubbed the Bitcoin Endowment Fund would be focused on building wealth and increasing Bitcoin education.

Square has selected the Black Bitcoin Billionaire group to be the first recipient to get a grant from the Bitcoin Endowment Fund. The Black Bitcoin Billionaire is an organization aimed at educating the Black community on Bitcoin.

The newly created fund would be funded with the interest Square earns on the Bitcoin in its corporate treasury, the company said in a memo.

The Bitcoin Endowment Fund is part of a program Square launched to invest $100 million in promoting financial inclusion.

The initiative is also focused on improving access to crypto and other technologies among minority communities.

As part of the program, $25 million would be contributed to the Netflix-led Black Economic Development Fund while $10 million would be given to the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund group.

Another $10 million would go to international organizations focused on supporting minority groups globally.

The Entrepreneurs of Color fund is managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a non-profit focused on giving minority small business owners capital. It also provides support such as coaching, operational guidance, and training.

President of LISC Fund Management George Ashton noted that the tech firm’s support would help minority business owners struggling with their businesses.

This latest move from Square comes only days after it revealed that it is considering a Bitcoin hardware wallet that would give consumers greater control over their own cryptocurrency.

This comes as no surprise considering the fact that Bitcoin transactions have been a major source of revenue for Square. Through its CashApp, customers store Bitcoin and make purchases.

Square’s Constant Support For Bitcoin And Crypto

The Bitcoin Endowment Fund is part of Square’s ongoing push into Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

The company recently invested $5 million to build an open-source, solar-powered bitcoin mining facility at one of the US sites of Blockchain technology firm, Blockstream.

Square also teamed up with Blockstream as part of its Bitcoin Clean Energy Initiative.

The CEO and founder of Square, Jack Dorsey, has been known to improve educational opportunities around Bitcoin alongside its adoption.

In February, Dorsey announced a partnership with rapper Jay-Z to donate 500 BTC to an endowment trust in Africa and India.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

A New, Much Higher ATH: Cash App’s Bitcoin Revenue Jumps 11x to $3.51 Billion

A New, Much Higher ATH: Cash App’s Bitcoin Revenue Jumps 11x to $3.51 Billion

Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey says the long-term focus is on “enabling bitcoin to be a native currency” of the internet.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s payment firm Square has posted another record quarter thanks to Bitcoin.

The company beat Wall Street expectations as soaring demand for bitcoin fueled a jump in cryptocurrency transactions on its peer-to-peer payment service Cash App.

Cash App generated $3.51 billion in Bitcoin revenue, up 11x from a year earlier at $306 million. This record number came in the quarter when the largest cryptocurrency became a trillion-dollar crypto asset, with the BTC price going from just under $30k to $62k.

Meanwhile, the gross profit from Bitcoin transactions was $75 million, which is the fees that Square collects, another all-time high.

Square represents one of the best data sets on retail investment trends on Bitcoin, notes crypto trader Light.

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During the company’s post-earnings call, Jack Dorsey told analysts that they view bitcoin as “the internet’s potential to have a native currency.” He said,

“This is going to be a long-term focus, enabling bitcoin to be a native currency. It removes a bunch of friction for our business, and we believe fully that it creates more opportunities for economic empowerment around the world.”

In February this year, San Francisco-based Square invested $170 million in Bitcoin that increased its bet on the digital assets from $50 million in Q4 of 2020, overall representing about 5% of its total cash.

The company’s record Q1 2021 was also strengthened by the shift to digital transactions spurred by the pandemic that had gross payment volumes on Square rising 29% to $33.1 billion.

The total net revenue of the company jumped about four-fold to $5.06 billion.

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Author: AnTy

Square Commits $10M to Bitcoin Clean Energy Initiative; Net-Zero Carbon by 2030

Square has launched a clean energy investment initiative to help make the “bitcoin supply chain greener.”

In its press release on Tuesday, the San Francisco-based company announced its plan to become net-zero carbon for operations by 2030. A verified carbon removal portfolio is expected to be launched in Q1 of 2021.

With this came the ‘Bitcoin Clean Energy Investment Initiative‘ to which Square is committing $10 million to support companies that “help drive adoption and efficiency of renewables within the bitcoin ecosystem.”

The new initiative will support companies working on green energy technologies within the bitcoin mining space and accelerate its transition to clean power. Any gains made from this investment will also be reinvested back into the initiative.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is a Bitcoin proponent and his company Square, which has invested $50 million in BTC, purchases the largest cryptocurrency on behalf of its Cash App customers.

“We believe that cryptocurrency will eventually be powered completely by clean power, eliminating its carbon footprint and driving adoption of renewables globally,” said Square co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey.

At the end of October, as we reported, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) sent out a letter to banks and cryptocurrency businesses to pay attention to the financial risks associated with climate change and incorporate them into their business strategies. Dorsey said,

“Published estimates indicate bitcoin already consumes a significant amount of clean energy, and we hope that Square’s investment initiative will accelerate this conversion to renewable energy.”

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Author: AnTy

Square’s Cash App Seeks Bitcoin Operations Manager to Forge ‘New Revenue Lines’

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s Square continues to delve deeper into Bitcoin. After a $50 million investment in the leading digital asset, creating an entire crypto division, and forming COPA, Square’s Cash App, which has over 24 monthly active users, is now hiring for a Bitcoin operations manager.

The person will be responsible for managing certain aspects of its bitcoin business, including liquidity management, trading, and custody/cold storage while mitigating security and financial risks.

Additionally, the individual will be responsible for optimizing strategic Bitcoin partnerships and collaborating with internal and external partners.

“Drive financial performance of our rapidly scaling bitcoin business, which includes forging new revenue lines,” further mentions the job responsibility of the person who is required to have over 10 years of experience in the payments field and 2-5 years of Bitcoin knowledge.

“Entrepreneurial drive is key.”

Besides driving operational efficiency, the person would have to collaborate across cross-functional constituents, including the Cash App engineering, design, product, finance, legal, compliance, customer support, data science, and risk operations.

Identifying and remediating operational issues together with managing key external partners, participating in cross-functional projects, and supporting product development, and analyzing and leveraging multiple sources of data to make informed business decisions are also required from this full-time position.

This makes sense given that Cash App users consume more than 8% of Bitcoin’s daily issuance, and every quarter the Bitcoin sales record a significant increase. With the BTC price on the move amidst monetary stimulus, Cash App may even see more growth.

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Author: AnTy