Jack Dorsey Says the Internet Should Have Its Own Native Currency

The CEO of Square and Twitter is bullish on Bitcoin

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey spoke with Lightning Labs CEO Elizabeth Stark on Wednesday at the Consensus conference. CoinDesk
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Jack Dorsey thinks the internet should have its own currency.

According to the CEO of Twitter and Square, a digital currency that’s universal in nature could benefit both consumers and companies in the ever-evolving world of online payments.

“The internet deserves its own currency,” Dorsey said today at the Consensus blockchain and cryptocurrency conference New York. “It will have a native currency. I don’t know if it will be Bitcoin or not. I hope it will be.”

While Dorsey is more frequently associated with Twitter, he’s become bullish on cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin—the increasingly popular-but-volatile digital currency that’s decreased in value from its peak of nearly $20,000 in mid-December to today’s opening price of $8,474. In fact, Square was the first company that allowed cryptocurrency trading through its Square Cash app earlier this year.

Speaking on stage with Lightning Labs CEO Elizabeth Stark, Dorsey recalled his early interest in crypocurrencies and cryptography, which began even before co-founding Twitter more than a decade ago. However, it wasn’t necessarily easy to get everyone at Square as interested. While the company began letting users accept Bitcoin payments as far back as 2014, integrating it into Square Cash has made it increasingly popular. (As Quartz pointed out last year, Square’s own stock has benefited in value as a result of the adoption too.)

Dorsey said that while allowing people to trade Bitcoin with Square was—and still is—a contentious topic within the company, he thinks cryptocurrencies are creating a “fundamental shift” in society.

While blockchain technology might still seem confined to crypto-enthusiasts, executives across various industries—like health care, consumer goods and advertising—say blockchain has broader implications for how products are tracked, data is shared and ads are verified.

While it could help Square and other companies around the world more quickly enter foreign markets, Dorsey said he also sees the value for Twitter. For example, he said it could help verify the identifies of users, decrease spam and increase trust.

Dorsey isn’t the only CEO of a major social network that’s thinking about the uses of blockchain. Last week, the head of Facebook Messenger announced plans to head up a new team focused on blockchain.

While many associate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a way to make lots of money, Dorsey said it should also be used for purchasing products as basic as a cup of coffee. He said he should be able to go to a coffee shop in San Francisco and pay for his cup without the barista even realizing what he paid with.

“We’re kind of getting out of the original idea that we were going after, but in a way that we thought was better because it made people more cognizant of the value of it,” he said. “And some of that awareness is just so important to the approach and to people’s understanding of the technology as well.”


@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.