Jack Dorsey: Bitcoin Will Become Web’s Native Currency

Jack Dorsey, Square CEO

Is Bitcoin on the path to becoming the default currency of the Internet? Jack Dorsey certainly thinks so.

The CEO of Square recently sat down with Elizabeth Stark of Lightning Labs at Consensus 2018 in New York to talk about his company’s plans for the digital currency.

During Wednesday’s chat, Dorsey said that “I’m just approaching with the principle that the Internet deserves a native currency. It will have a native currency. I don’t know if it will be bitcoin.”

Dorsey went on to add that:

“I hope it will be bitcoin. I’m a huge fan.”

He does admit that the idea that bitcoin will someday be the basis for all payments made on the Internet remains a large topic of debate at Square.

“We’ve led with that mindset. But there’s still a lot of skepticism and a lot of debate and a lot of fights. But that’s where the magic happens, where creativity happens,” he continued.

Despite controversy, Dorsey argues that the vision of open access that bitcoin inspires is important to the role Square has always played in the payments industry. “Any payment that comes across our table, the seller should be able to accept,” he emphasized.

When Dorsey first began thinking about how to implement bitcoin payments into the Square platform with Mike Brock, an engineer at the company, the two initially settled on a simple goal.

Either one of them, he reasoned, should be able to walk over across the street and buy a cup of coffee with bitcoin without the transaction looking any different than a regular dollar-denominated payment, perhaps without the cashier even knowing that bitcoin was being used.

Dorsey said the team had a working solution within a week.

“It felt amazing. It felt electric. And it felt like something we needed to explore a lot more,” he said.

Square has yet to build a full bitcoin payments solution for merchants and consumers, however, as it quickly changed direction to work on a buying-and-selling service to be integrated into its Cash App. But Dorsey said that the goal remains the same.

“We want to go back to that original idea of being able to purchase a coffee with it. And that’s why we’re working with [Lightning Labs],” said Dorsey. “Whatever it takes to get there, we’re going to make sure it happens.”

Dorsey – who counts himself as a fan of the hacker ethos surrounding bitcoin’s rise to fame – claims that whatever path Square takes to pushing mass adoption of bitcoin payments, they will do so without threatening the openness of the network.

“There’s so much openness in the community, and I want to make sure nothing in the corporate world threatens that,” he stated, going on to say:

“We cannot risk hurting what made this possible to begin with … We can’t do any of this without the technology being strong and available for everyone.”

Fintech Strategist Asks Investment Advisors to Get Smart on Crypto

Financial Advisors

In an interview with CNBC May 16th, Lex Sokolin, Global Director of Fintech strategy at Autonomous Research remarked that investment advisors need to familiarize themselves with crypto and its underlying technology, however skeptical they may be.

Sokolin opined that investors will buy Bitcoin (BTC) whether advisors “like it or not,” so both individuals and financial advisors need to adapt to the phenomenon:

“Cryptocurrency is very controversial, but it’s really here to stay, and the underlying [blockchain] technology is really fundamental to the types of companies that people are building right now.”

However, Sokolin also stressed the volatility of the market, noting that it wouldn’t be a smart move to fill your entire portfolio with cryptocurrencies. He instead suggested that investing in crypto “is a good way to add alternatives to your general allocation, something like 3 [percent] to 5 percent of your portfolio.”

The traditional financial sector has historically viewed the crypto industry with some distrust. Major wall street players such as Merrill Lynch have even banned their financial advisors from buying Bitcoin-related investments for their clients. They even banned clients’ access to the Bitcoin futures contracts offered on CME and CBOE.

This skepticism was mirrored by JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s outspoken dismissal of Bitcoin as “a fraud” last year, a statement he soon claimed to regret, later softening his stance to one of avowed indifference. Dimon said he was, “not interested that much in the subject at all.”

Earlier this year, Wall Street has begun softening its stance on crypto. Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs has announced it would offer certain contracts with Bitcoin exposure, before rumoredly offering crypto trading.

Recent news that the New York Stock Exchange’s owner may soon offer swap contracts in BTC may suggest that the major custody and security obstacles to mainstream institutional investment in the crypto space are being slowly overcome. Beyond the US, Japan-based global investment bank Nomura also revealed a digital asset custody solution for institutional clients yesterday.

Blockchain has made similar headlines this week, with Amazon Web Services, the tech giant’s cloud computing arm, announcing that they are launching a partnership with a ConsenSys’ blockchain startup to offer simplified blockchain cloud platforms to its clients.

Common Ethereum-based Standards Revealed At The Concensus 2018 Conference

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance

The EEA has announced the release of Enterprise Ethereum Client Specification 1.0, designed to provide a “single, open-source, cross-platform standards-based structure to global corporate Ethereum developers. The protocol can promote higher trust in contracts, help accelerate business transactions as well as build more efficient business models.

The specification was unveiled at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2018 conference in New York. The announcement was an important moment for the group who led the move to come up with a common standard bridging developmental efforts across the enterprise-focused, ethereum-based activities.

The initiative was “started” last year with support coming from major corporates like British oil giant BP, Wall Street bank JPMorgan Chase and Microsoft.

Ron Resnick, EEA executive director, said:

“The EEA’s Enterprise Ethereum Specification is the result of 18 months of intense collaboration between leading enterprise, technology and platform members within our technical committee. This EEA open-source, cross-platform framework will enable the mass adoption at a depth and breadth otherwise unachievable in individual corporate silos.”

Also, Resnick stated in an interview with CoinDesk, “All the ethereum client companies see the need to agree on these building blocks and components and how they talk to each other, because if we don’t, then we don’t have a way to compete against the proprietary solutions,” he said at the time.

Blockchain, The Anchor In Brian Kelly’s ETF

Brian Kelly, Wall St. Investment Manager

Brian Kelly, a Wall St. investment manager partners with REX Shares founder Gregg King in putting up a blockchain exchange-traded-fund (ETF). In an interview with Coindesk, Kelly said he will actively manage a portfolio of about 30 companies matching one criteria which the ETF will support from the seed-stage.

Wall Street BullThe four criteria include enterprise blockchain, the disruptor on how securities are traded, mining-focused entities and decentralized exchanges.

He “informed” CoinDesk:

“When I look at the investment landscape, to me blockchain and cryptocurrencies are a once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity … if I look at every other asset class, to me the most attractive investment is blockchain and cryptocurrency. The growth is explosive [and] the potential is enormous.”

Kelly said the fund is an active ETF which will evolve in time. The fund, not directly invested in crypto, is open to anybody with a U.S. brokerage account. It doesn’t matter if investor reside outside the USA and no accreditation is needed.

Advancements in blockchain and cryptocurrencies is the reason for the ETF. The fund will be invested in firms with crypto assets showing Kelly is not worried about volatility. He said:

“With all investments obviously there’s risk, and the volatility of bitcoin versus equities can change, historically bitcoin has been volatile. That being said we don’t know what the future holds – as more people and more investments come into cryptocurrencies those potentially could actually become less volatile.”