Talented Square, Twitter CEO Biggest Star At Consensus 2018, Offered Fresh Advice, Opinions On #Bitcoin


Despite the volatile price movement of cryptocurrencies and unclear regulatory prospects, people’s passion over the technology has only surged higher. Consensus 2018, a three-day bitcoin conference happening in NYC this week, attracted over 8,400 attendees this year, up from about 2,700 in 2017, mainly to see handsome billionaire Jack Dorsey.

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Jack Dorsey, who is the founder and CEO of the mobile payment company Square (SQ) — when he’s not running his other company Twitter (TWTR) — was one of the most anticipated speakers at the conference, since Square has embraced bitcoin more than other traditional tech companies.


Square launched a bitcoin trading feature for Cash — its money-transfer and payment app — this January, allowing most users to buy and sell the cryptocurrency within the app instantly. Cash had 7 million active users in December, including “unbanked” people who mainly use the app to buy from retailers like Walmart and McDonald’s. The added bitcoin trading ability was a small step toward “greater financial access for all,” Dorsey said in a tweet announcing the feature.


Trading bitcoin, however, was not the original plan, Dorsey said at the Consensus conference. Dorsey wants bitcoin — or another digital asset like it — to be an easy payment system that anyone can use without even having to think about it.


“Can we build a system where using the Cash card I can actually have bitcoin and go across the street to the Blue Bottle in the Twitter building and buy a cappuccino with bitcoin?” asked Dorsey. In an ideal world, the cryptocurrency will be automatically transferred to dollars the moment the transaction happens and the seller doesn’t even need to know it was paid with bitcoin.


But the plan was adjusted after the company actually started developing the technology.

“We just felt the buying and selling interface that existed at the time wasn’t simple enough, it didn’t provide access to people in the way we felt we could.” said Dorsey. He didn’t mention why the company abandoned the original bitcoin payment plan.



Dorsey said moving into the bitcoin business was a pretty “contentious” move for the company: “We have a lot of healthy skeptics within the company about us giving this access to people in such an easy way.”

But as a fan of the technology and its philosophy himself, Dorsey believes deeply in its future: “The Internet deserves its native currency. I don’t know if it will be bitcoin or not, I hope it will be. We can’t just wait for things to happen to us, we have to help make them happen.”


As for the future dynamics of the centralized players like Square in a decentralized crypto economy? Dorsey admitted he doesn’t know the answer.


“We go too quickly toward definitive statement in the answers, instead of just resting in the ‘I don’t know’ for a bit,” said Dorsey, “We are going to have a learning mindset, make sure we talk to as many people as possible to figure out the best answers.”

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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett

Photographs are Courtesy:  AP; Disney

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