Jack Dorsey’s Square changes its name to ‘Block’

A few days after Jack Dorsey resigned as CEO of Twitter, his other company is changing its name. Square is renaming itself Block as it focuses on technologies like blockchain and expands beyond its original credit card reader. Jack Dorsey’s payments giant said in an announcement that the new name, which takes effect Dec. 10, “recognizes the growth of the company” and “creates room for further growth”

Square has been experimenting with a number of crypto-focused ideas. In November, it published a whitepaper for a decentralized exchange for trading bitcoin and other assets.

In October, Dorsey said the company is considering building bitcoin mining machines to develop a hardware wallet that is already in development. And bitcoin sales have been a big draw for the Square Cash app for years. Last quarter, the company reported $1.81 billion in revenue and $42 million in profit.

The company had allowed users to buy and sell bitcoin in 2018. In his third-quarter earnings conference call last month, Dorsey said the company’s goal was to “help Bitcoin become the native currency for the Internet.”

Square was one of the biggest winners of 2020 as consumers switched to digital payments. Shares are down about 2% so far this year as investors turn away from higher-growth tech names.

The news comes about a month after Facebook changed its name to Meta to reflect CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to build a virtual world called Metaverse. Google similarly renamed itself Alphabet six years ago to reflect other businesses.

Meta announced Wednesday that Facebook has dramatically expanded its ability to run ads for digital assets as the “cryptocurrency landscape has continued to mature.”

Cryptocurrency ads were effectively banned on the platform after January 2018 when the ICO bubble burst, leaving regulators desperate and many small investors underwater. Facebook did offer certain opportunities for digital asset companies to run ads, but they had to fill out an extensive questionnaire asking if they were listed and what licenses they held, of which Facebook required one of three.