SQUARE BECOMES BLOCK. First it was Facebook trying to catch the blockchain tech wave with an announcement that it would change its name to Meta.
Now Jack Dorsey’s Square, a payments and and point-of-sale company focused on small entrepreneurs is changing its name to Block.
The change reflects an intention to integrate crypto capabilities more seamlessly and centrically into its products.
“We built the Square brand for our Seller business, which is where it belongs,” said Dorsey. “’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.”
Dorsey, also known as a founder and long-time CEO of Twitter, recently stepped down from that position.
Given Twitter’s growing penchant along with other big tech companies over the years to ratchet up censorship on their platforms, Dorsey’s support of cryptocurrencies might seem strange to many.
After all, permissionless blockchains like Bitcoin, Ethereum and many others were designed to be highly resistant to censorship as far as participants, and the ability of central authorities to shut their networks down.
Dorsey’s crypto enthusiasm appears to be based on financial understanding which doesn’t extend to political considerations.
The Trends Journal previously signaled Dorsey’s thoughts on cryptos and future direction in “DORSEY AND ELON (BACK) ON BITCOIN BANDWAGON” (27 Jul 2021) and “DEFI ON BITCOIN BEING DEVELOPED BY SQUARE” (20 Jul 2021).
Way before that, the Trends Journal profiled Dorsey’s likely future in “Farewell to cash” (11 May 2016), while voicing concerns that a cashless society would allow big tech companies and governments to more comprehensively surveill and censor populations:
“But PayPal, and especially Apple Pay, are immense parts of the millennial experience. Ultimately, this generation is comprised of digital creatures, and they’re now frequently using online wallet services—such as PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Wallet, and mobile-payment services such as Square—to purchase goods and services. Square, co-founded by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, was valued at $2.9 billion upon going public in 2015. Despite its initial deflation and failed partnership with Starbucks, Square can be found at most every Main Street millennial hangout, like coffee shops, breweries and bars. It’s a familiar system and brand among millennials.”
GENSLER AVOIDS SPECIFICS BY SAYING CRYPTO REGULATION DEPENDS ON SPECIFICS. Gary Gensler, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has remained enigmatic about new crypto token advice.
It’s not a stance that has helped the crypto sector, which has been asking for clarity about the U.S. government’s positions regarding cryptos.
Following Gensler’s appearance at a Senate Banking Committee hearing in September, Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) followed up with questions for the SEC head.
Specifically, Toomey, the top Republican on the Committee, asked Gensler to “identify the specific characteristics that distinguish a cryptocurrency that is a security from one that has been deemed a commodity.”
Gensler responded that the SEC doesn’t need to decide which crypto assets are and aren’t securities, since existing laws and court judgments have established broad bounds that allow the agency latitude in deciding on a case-by-case basis.
To say Gensler’s position leaves uncertainty in a sector would be an understatement.
Many believe lack of clarity remains a significant drag on what otherwise shows signs of being a once-in-a-generation transformative technology.
In answering Toomey, Gensler was content to cite the latitude he believes current laws provide:
“Thus it depends upon the particular facts and circumstances, whether any particular financial instrument, including a crypto asset, is being offered or sold as a security.”
As reported by theblockcrypto.com, Gensler, also avoided a question about whether a dollar-backed stablecoin with reserves in FDIC-insured U.S. banks would be considered a security.
Toomey commented on Gensler’s post-hearing responses: “Chairman Gensler’s failure to provide clear rules of the road for cryptocurrencies underscores the need for Congress to act.”
CRYPTO-BACKED BONDS COME TO WALL STREET. Goldman Sachs is one of a handful of tier-one US banks finding out how to utilize bitcoin as collateral for cash loans to institutions, according to Coindesk.com.
“We’ve probably spoken to half a dozen big banks about [bitcoin-backed loans],” one source told the crypto news outlet. “Some of them are in the next three to six months category and some are further out. What’s interesting is some of these banks will use their own balance sheet to make the loan. Others will syndicate this out.”
Banks like Goldman Sachs will avoid bitcoin spot markets in favor of crypto products like futures. Banks are studying methods to follow the same route of not directly handling bitcoin, instead emulating tri-party repo type agreements (a means of borrowing cash by selling securities with a commitment to buy them, including a third-party agent).
Sources said it’s an opportunity that will pave the way for more integrated crypto prime brokerage services in the future. It’s also a continuation of Wall Street’s increasing accommodation and adoption of cryptocurrencies as an asset class.
FLASHBACK 2018: CELENTE ON CRYPTOS. Another wild year of cryptos played out more in general public awareness in 2021 than ever.
That’s because, up or down, the widespread disruptive implications and use cases of cryptos constantly brewed to the top of the news.
Trends Journal readers who were paying attention in June 2018 had a heads up on where it all was going.
As Gerald Celente noted in “Cryptomania Cash-In”:
What Dimon, Buffet and other high-profile critics of cryptocurrencies continually sidestep is the Globalnomic® perspective.
And as we have forecast, cryptocurrency’s growth, despite a turbulent path to legitimacy, is inevitable. It is a key dynamic of the 21st century’s financial revolution, and the evolution of the high-tech world that was unimaginable in the 20th century.
Trends are born, they grow, mature, reach old age and die. Cryptos are still in their infancy. Thus, how fast they grow and what they will look like when they grow up cannot yet be fully determined.
And, anyone claiming to be an “expert” in the field is no more than a participant in its evolution, since tracking trends is an understanding of where we are and how we got here, determining where we are going. And the “how we got here” phase has no true history yet, since it is being shaped right now.
What is being shaped, and what will sustain and help escalate crypto growth is that in this techno era, more nations will go cashless. And, cash is not part of the new world order for millennials and the generations to follow. Cryptos are a high finance reflection of the acceptance of cashlessness.
Also, a key dynamic behind the birth of Bitcoin for example, is the millennial core distrust of fiat currencies. For them, digital currencies are what gold was for baby boomers: Their version of a safe haven asset.