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Square Changes Name to Block in Nod to New Businesses

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(Bloomberg) -- Square Inc. is changing its corporate name to Block Inc., signaling a push beyond the company’s main sales and payments products into businesses like music, cash transfers and the blockchain.

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The company, co-founded and run by cryptocurrency enthusiast Jack Dorsey, will continue to call its seller product Square, and the new corporate identity won’t lead to any organizational changes. The company’s stock ticker -- SQ -- will also stay the same.

CEO Dorsey -- who resigned from the same role at Twitter Inc. earlier this week -- has long wanted to build Square from a digital-payments company into a broader organization with a number of standalone business units. In that vein, Square recently acquired Tidal, the music streaming service led by rapper Jay-Z, and started a financial services division focused on Bitcoin called TBD54566975. (That unit’s name was derived from a positive numerology report linked to the number.)

The San Francisco-based company also owns Cash App, a consumer payments and investing product, and Square, its original sales and register service used by small businesses. As the company expanded, it became confusing to have a corporate name that overlapped with just one of its businesses. It’s the same strategy that social media giant Meta Platforms Inc. adopted last month, when it changed its name from Facebook Inc. to widen the focus from its flagship product.

“We built the Square brand for our Seller business, which is where it belongs,” Dorsey said Wednesday in a statement. “Block is a new name, but our purpose of economic empowerment remains the same. No matter how we grow or change, we will continue to build tools to help increase access to the economy.”

The name Block has a number of inspirations. “Building blocks, neighborhood blocks and their local businesses, communities coming together at block parties full of music, a blockchain, a section of code, and obstacles to overcome,” Square’s statement says.

Linking the name Block to blockchain -- the decentralized technology underlying cryptocurrencies and other digital assets -- will certainly make sense to people who follow Dorsey. The CEO is a Bitcoin fanatic, and often tweets about the cryptocurrency and blockchain-related technologies. Square Crypto, a project aimed at advancing Bitcoin, will now be called Spiral.

Dorsey’s departure from the helm of Twitter this week led to speculation that he would be focusing more of his attention on Square -- now Block -- and its effort to move into new businesses and popularize digital currencies and use of the blockchain.

In recent months, Dorsey has revved up Square’s efforts in several cryptocurrency-related areas. In October, he tweeted that Square is considering building a Bitcoin-mining system based on custom silicon that could be used by people and companies worldwide.

In November, Square published a white paper describing plans for a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange for trading Bitcoin, fiat money or real-world goods.

(Updates to add details on Square’s crypto efforts in ninth and 10th paragraphs.)

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