"Blockchain makes cryptocurrencies the inevitable future of money, more transparent since it helps filter good businesses from bad businesses." — Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta
The Big Block
Jack Dorsey’s Square has always been a brave and innovative company, focused deeply on simplicity of product and design as a core part of the DNA. Founded in February 2009, Square’s first product was a gorgeous, square-shaped dongle that instantly turned a smartphone into a merchant credit card processing machine. Square has taken a methodical approach to growing its core business, moving from individuals to small businesses to medium sized firms over the past decade.
In 2013, Square introduced an iPad-based product, Square Stand, aimed at coffee shops and other small retailers. This hardware solution enables an iPad to be used as a payment terminal or full point-of-sale solution. And in 2017, the company introduced Square Register, an all-in-one offering that combines hardware, point-of-sale software, and payments technology. Today, Square’s large-business customers account for nearly 50% of total payment volume, a vast difference from the company’s early roots. Square’s focus on simplicity of design and gradually moving into new customer segments has helped to spawn an empire that served more than 2 million merchants by 2016 and serves ~30% of independent businesses that accept credit cards in the US.
In addition to increasing the merchant segments it serves, Square has also methodically expanded product offerings beyond payment processing. Square’s oft-stated ambition is to be the “operating system for small and medium sized businesses.” To that end, it has introduced products such as Square Capital (funding to help businesses grow) as well as software for invoices, payroll, appointments, location and inventory management, CRM/marketing tools, and more. Today, a company can run much of its operations on Square hardware and software.
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Around The Block
Sia is resetting its mining algorithm to brick major ASIC miners
Today core developers for Sia, a decentralized data storage protocol, announced that they have decided to implement a hard fork that completely resets Sia’s proof-of-work algorithm. The change will render mining hardware from firms outside the project obsolete. — More
Circle has poached a fintech executive as the Goldman Sachs-backed firm massively overhauls its trading infrastructure
Circle, the cryptocurrency exchange operator and trading firm, has poached an executive from the financial-technology world to explore new ways for the company to make money.
Vishal Gupta, formerly VP of business development at MoneyLion, the personal-finance startup, was hired by Circle in recent weeks as head of business development and partnerships, people familiar with the hire told The Block.
Founded in 2013, Circle is one of the best-funded firms in crypto, counting Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs as one of its main backers. Its over-the-counter trading operation, Circle Trade, facilitates billions of dollars worth of crypto trades per month, according to its website. — More
Malta’s PM calls touts crypto as the ‘inevitable future of money’ — More
Stellar officially launches its decentralized exchange — More
BitMEX: Despite ETH downturn ICO projects are still sitting on gains rather than losses — More
Leak reveals collusion on EOS blockchain — More
Ripple and other cryptocurrency startups form lobbying coalition — More
Pornhub: Less than 1% of purchases made with cryptocurrency — More
Michael Arrington’s digital asset management firm subpoenaed — More