Jack Dorsey joined a company hackathon to get bitcoin in Square
Square’s stock price has enjoyed a major boost since it began letting users buy and sell bitcoin on the company’s Cash payments app. But the feature only got there because Square founder and CEO Jack Dorsey joined a company hackathon, intent on finding a way to put bitcoin on his Cash payments card.

The firm had been letting merchants accept bitcoin payments since 2014, but uptake was weak, with only two or three bitcoin payments made daily. But Dorsey had grown increasingly convinced that bitcoin would be the “native currency” of the internet, as he followed conversations around it on Twitter.

He spotted an opportunity to try meshing bitcoin into Square’s services during a company “hack week” last January. Dorsey, who shared the backstory of the Cash app’s bitcoin feature at Consensus, a digital currency conference going on this week in New York, said he got an engineer named Mike Brock to join him in the hackathon—although it took about a day for Dorsey to convince him to take part.

Their task, Dorsey said, was this: “Can we build a system where using my Cash Card, which was on Apple Pay at the time, can I have bitcoin [on the card] and go across the street to the Blue Bottle in the Twitter building and buy a cappuccino with my bitcoin?” Dorsey also is CEO at Twitter, another company he co-founded, and famously walks between the two firms’ offices (paywall) in San Francisco.
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Joon Ian Wong
May 17, 2018


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