Jack Dorsey's Block Sees Bitcoin Disrupt Payments Networks, Expects Self-Custody to Grow

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Jack Dorsey's Block Sees Bitcoin Disrupt Payments Networks, Expects Self-Custody to Grow

In Brief

  • Block Sees Bitcoin Disrupting Payments Networks, Expects Self-Custody to Grow.

  • Block executives spoke during the company’s investor day on Wednesday. The first since 2017.

  • In the first quarter, Cash App generated $1.73 billion in bitcoin transactions and $43 million of gross profit.

Block, formerly known as Square, is betting on Bitcoin. CFO Amrita Ahuja said the crypto could become a "global currency for the internet.".

Executives from the company said that Bitcoin has potential to disrupt traditional payment networks, especially with the growing adoption of the Lightning Network.

“Bitcoin is going to have a profound impact on financial services, particularly as a tool for economic empowerment and as a global currency for the internet,” Block Chief Financial Officer Amrita Ahuja said during the presentation.

Block is building integrated hardware and software to address self-custody with its wallet. CEO Jack Dorsey is a well-known proponent of Bitcoin and has been openly dismissive of other crypto projects.

The internet requires a currency native to itself, and in looking at the entire ecosystem of technologies to fill this role, it’s clear that bitcoin is currently the only candidate. - Jack Dorsey

Block expects the self-custody process to become easier, as it becomes more popular with individuals. “These initiatives are early in their development,” Ahuja said.

“We are no longer just a payments company,” Dorsey said during the livestreamed event. “A lot has changed since our last investor day.”

Ahuja wants to expand its mining pool to include more consumers and small companies. He wants to ensure the resilience and security of the bitcoin ecosystem by encouraging more users to take park.

Block's peer-to-peer payments service, Cash App, generated $1.73 billion in bitcoin transactions and $43 million in gross profit in the first quarter. Block also holds a significant amount of bitcoin on its balance sheet.

According to Square, adjusted profit margins for the Square side of the business were 34 percent last year, and 12 percent for Cash App. Cash App currently has 46 million monthly active users and 80 million annual active users as of March.

“Wall Street analysts are going to want to understand our growth profile, and our margin structure as a company — you can see based on our track record we are outgrowing the rest of the industry,” Ahuja said.

Along with an increase in online purchasing, the lending industry has become popular among customers and merchants. It divides the expense of a larger item into four zero-interest payments. Despite opposition from consumer advocates, Ahuja maintains that the card is safer than a regular credit card because customers cannot take out more loans if they miss a payment.

“Millennials and Gen Z’s are quite frankly skeptical of traditional forms of credit, that leave people in debt spirals,” she said.

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