US payments firm Square gets new corporate name: Block

Square Inc, the San Francisco-based payments company headed by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, announced Dec 1, 2021, that it is changing its name to Block. — AP

SAN FRANCISCO: Digital payments firm Square, which was co-founded and is still led by former Twitter chief Jack Dorsey, on Dec 1 changed its corporate name to Block as it expands into cryptocurrency and other financial technology tools.

The Square payments platform – which was the company’s sole offering when it was founded in San Francisco by Jim McKelvey and Dorsey in 2009 – will keep its name, and the now-public company will continue to trade under the symbol “SQ”.

Square started out providing small businesses with devices that plug into smartphones or computer tablets to process credit or debit card payments.

The company has since expanded to include Cash App and Jay-Z’s music streaming service Tidal.

“We built the Square brand for our Seller business, which is where it belongs,” Dorsey said in a release.

“Block is a new name, but our purpose of economic empowerment remains the same.”

The corporate name change is meant as a nod to the company’s growth, and will not involve organisational restructuring, according to Block.

Facebook recently changed its corporate name to Meta in a similar move, while Google years ago took on the corporate name Alphabet.

“Not to get all meta on you... but we’re going to!” Square said in a comment forum beneath a Dorsey tweet about the name change.

“Block references the neighbourhood blocks where we find our sellers, a blockchain, block parties full of music, obstacles to overcome, a section of code, building blocks, and of course, tungsten cubes.”

The name also represents an overarching ecosystem of businesses.

Square has made it known that it is working on a wallet for holding digital money, and Dorsey recently expressed interest in the company getting involved in mining cryptocurrency.

An initiative at the company that had been called Square Crypto will change its name to Spiral.

Earlier this week, Dorsey announced that he was leaving Twitter, after steering the social network during the tumult of Donald Trump’s presidency and surviving an activist investor’s ouster bid in 2020.

Dorsey came under pressure in 2020 from Elliott Management amid concerns he had spread himself too thin by running both Twitter and Square.

Twitter’s chief technology officer Parag Agrawal has assumed the top post, with Dorsey saying he would remain a member of the board through until around May to help with the transition. – AFP

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