Published: February 02, 2022  •  2173 Views

Bitcoin for Corporations Keynote

View the Bitcoin for Corporations keynote session with Jack Dorsey, CEO of Block, Inc., and Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy Inc. as they discuss bold strategies for building a better future. This in-depth discussion covered a wide range of considerations—from what bitcoin as a technology means to the world, to the noble incentives of the network, to key considerations for corporations exploring bitcoin adoption and innovative business models. 

 

Watch this session to learn:

  • How bitcoin can enhance corporate performance and build shareholder value
  • How bitcoin serves as a practical solution for conventional challenges companies face
  • Why it’s worth studying bitcoin—even if a corporation is not planning to adopt/embrace it

Speakers:

  • Jack Dorsey, CEO of Block, Inc.
  • Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy Inc.

Well, welcome to Bitcoin for corporations. I'm Michael Saylor. I'm the CEO of MicroStrategy. I have the honor to interview Jack Dorsey, my idol. This is going to be very, very exciting for me, and I think Jack needs no introduction, but I'll introduce him anyway. I think Jack has been an instrumental leader in technology. You know, as you know, both a Twitter and Square that's now Block. And Jack has been an inspirational leader in the Bitcoin community as well. And this is Jack's first interview in many, many months. And so I'm happy he chose to join us today. So, Jack, welcome. 

Thank you, Michael. And just to start, I just want to thank you, and I'm very grateful for how consistent your advocacy of Bitcoin has been, not only in speech. But inaction and the clarity, you bring to the space. Demystifying not only the technology but what it means in terms of societal impact is, is, is very unique and very clarifying for so many. So thank you. Appreciate you. Thanks, it's easy to support something which you feel so passionately about that's doing good for the world. Although I feel underdressed right now, Jack, I've got the wrong t-shirt what are you wearing? I got it. I got the Lightning Labs is selling swag now. And of course, they're selling it via lightning so you can go to the store and buy a t-shirt. So I got the nirvana. Sure my favorite band. My favorite shoot them together. I want my version, I Satoshi t-shirt for lightning. Exactly it's going to spread fast. 

OK, so today our agenda is to talk about Bitcoin strategy. We've got a lot of companies that are tuned in with us, probably institutional investors, probably industry analysts and the topic is Bitcoin for corporations. A lot of the content in the space is about either bitcoin, you know, the technology or Bitcoin as the asset or Bitcoin as an investment or economic discussions or political discussions. And what we wanted to do today, today and tomorrow is just talk about how Bitcoin can enhance your corporate performance. You can grow your company, grow your revenues, grow your cash flows, build shareholder value, write we talk. We say Bitcoin fixes everything right. And one thing that I think Bitcoin can fix is Bitcoin can fix a company, make it better, and your extraordinary example of success in this area. So I have an interview in three parts. My first part is. What is Bitcoin mean to the world? And my second part of the interview is what does Bitcoin means to Block? And the third part of my interview is what is Bitcoin means to corporations everywhere in the world and what's advice you might dispense to a company that's considering Bitcoin? 

So without further ado, why don't we start with the first question? In your opinion, what's Bitcoin mean to the world? Uh, well, I mean. A lot of us probably started with Bitcoin out of curiosity, and it led us to a path where we started questioning more and more about how the world works and doesn't work. And what are some of the greatest solutions to the problems that we're all facing that we're all seeing? There’s the currency aspect, which I'm extremely passionate about having a. The internet has a native currency onto its own that isn't dictated by decisions in Washington, DC that end up affecting people in the middle of Nigeria, which by its very virtue is not fair. But more than anything else for me, it was a reminder of the early, early internet that I grew up on. It was extremely it is extremely principled. It's open-source. It's working as are transparent. There's no single leader, the creator. And removed themselves from the equation fairly early on, the development model and the execution and operations have been consistent and unchallenged. And more than anything else, transparent. 

So the biggest thing that I think it means for the world is there is a way of building for the building, for the world that is trusted, that is open, that is inclusive of anyone who wants to participate. We don't typically see that in the corporate world that we tend to live in and that I tend to live in. So it gave me a lot of lessons, a lot of reminders of why the internet is so important and what we can do to ensure that people coming into the intersection with this technology, that they trust it, and that if they have an idea that would make it better or make it more accessible, make it more secure, protect it, even more, they can contribute. So there's just there are so many lessons, but I think the internet has a native currency. For-itself opens so many doors, especially for internet companies, technology companies, but more importantly for everyday people, activist people who have questions in the world, people who have curiosity and more recognizing that the current systems, whether they be the corporate financial systems of the government, financial systems just aren't working for them. And it's time to opt-out of them and opt into something that is open, transparent and for everyone to the words ringing through my head or egalitarian, a utilitarian technology.  

Absolutely 100% But and the most important thing is you can see it. You can see how it was built. You can see the instructions with which it's built, you can see how it runs. You can see the past history of disagreements and how resilient to resilient it's been to attacks both political government, individual greed. It's resisted and been resilient to nearly every attack. And there are more to come. But I have no doubt that the model itself, the development model of the operational model, will solve the problems it faces better than any other development model I've seen in my lifetime. 

I think that makes it true, and it makes it ethical from a legal point of view. Interestingly enough, all of those characteristics qualify it as property and not a security. And if it didn't have those characteristics, it would flip to a different legal category. And I was impressed by the block size wars when the small blockers won, and I didn't really understand the significance of it when I got into this space. But now I understand that if the big blockers had won, then the integrity of the protocol wouldn't have been maintained untarnished for the entire 12, 13 years. And that was a very important outcome, I think, yeah, yeah, the noble incentives of the network persisted. And the most amazing thing to me is that Satoshi didn't have to be there for that to happen. It encouraged enough thinking and questioning and curiosity that it went on and on in terms of mindset to all the developers that worked so hard during those times and all the node operators, all the people who are using it, people to hold it, and also miners making the realization that this is the right path. And you know, it's another validation point of what we're all trying to build just by participating in it. It's kind of like the ultimate open, free market in a way, too, because everyone can engage and no one can prevent you. Yeah, nothing nothing is set in the Bitcoin community, as you know, there's some saying, which is don't trust, verify. And that's pretty much the ethos that has been consistent throughout my experience of it. And I think it speaks of again questioning curiosity, but more importantly, doing the work to verify outcomes and verify the right outcomes. 

And the fact that Bitcoin's source and operations is all open and transparent, accessible to anyone is a significant advantage that you just don't see in any other models, and especially for something as critical as money like money touches every single person on this planet. Exchange value as a concept touches every single person on the planet. Usually, it's associated with a very negative feeling. We hate it. Sometimes we love it in very rare cases. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we just don't understand it. We can't trust it because it's hidden behind government barriers or corporate barriers that now are being challenged completely. It's extraordinary, right, Satoshi gave such a gift to the world. Right, what are the odds that you would engineer something like this? Release it into the world, have it take hold and then the founders walk away and leave it as a gift to humanity? Incredible incredible. And you know, we fixate a lot on Satoshi and have nothing but gratitude for whomever this person is. But there's so much work that went into that to get to that moment as well to get to what Satoshi was able to do. There's a whole background of engineering and science and experimentation and testing to get us to this point. So we constantly like the spirit of this is what's most interesting and the fact that the spirit maintains and grows. And I would just characterize it, the spirit is like this questioning curiosity and doing the work to figure out the answers that keep going back into the code base and it keeps going back into the operations. So everyone benefits from that. Everyone can learn something from Bitcoin in it, even if you don't like it as a monetary system, as an asset, if you hate it. There's some lesson there that applies to anything that you currently do in the world. Guarantee no, I ‘m stunned by this idea of humanity cooperating with the best intentions in a fair ethical way in order to engineer a better future. And how often do you see that? Yeah well, so on that. That's a great segue. Let's talk about Bitcoin and Block. What does Bitcoin mean to Block? Tell me about your products, the markets you serve, and the strategy that you're pursuing with regard to Bitcoin at Block. 

Yeah, it's just a little history here to provide context for why Bitcoin has become important to us. So we started. It was called square. We just recently changed our name. We started square in. We had the idea around the end of 2008 and started in earnest, building a prototype in 2009 January, which is around the same time that a lot of energy in the financial industry was happening. You had a stripe start, you had the Bitcoin white paper and Satoshi working to the point to release the code and the genesis block all during that time. You had the end of this, this massive bank failure and just so much greed and corruption on display, which was never held accountable for. And we still live with today. So it was a very interesting time for finance or financial technology. There was just a lot of energy happening and we happen to recognize a problem which was, you know, more and more of the US was moving to paying with plastic cards. And this is great for individuals because it's convenient. There are a lot of negatives, obviously, with the credit card industry, but the convenience and the speed were amazing. The problem was the Sellers could not accept credit cards. And when we first thought about this, we just thought, OK, we're building a credit card reader for small Sellers to use. We didn't realize that was just the tip of the iceberg. The real issue was that these folks were being denied from the merchant acquirer, from the bank itself to even accepting credit cards because of outdated technologies to vet them. And so there was a flower cart underneath my apartment where we started the company, and she got denied like three times to accept credit cards. And that meant she had to stay with the cash. And that meant every single time someone didn't have cash and tried to pay with the credit card, she lost the sale. So we realized in the first six months it wasn't about accepting a credit card, it wasn't about building credit card hardware, it was about helping a seller make the sale. 

That was a participant in the economy, and that's how our company grew is how do we build tools to enable people to simply participate in the economy? And if we can do that, then how do we help them grow and thrive in the economy as well? So we started with square on the credit card reader. We built the point of sale because to help them make decisions, we started lending people money so they could buy a new salon chair so they could double their business. We created this thing that we wanted to use cash out to transfer money because we had the money rails. Now we did in a very innovative way by forcing the money through a refund onto a debit card. So it was instantaneous and anyone with a debit card could utilize it. And we actually tried to integrate Bitcoin in 2014. We enabled any buyer on our online stores for Sellers to pay with Bitcoin. We saw very, very few transactions. So it didn't really go anywhere, but we took it up again in earnest with cash up because we found a vehicle that actually made sense. We started with a very simple model of exchange and buy and sell. We initially when I first worked on the project with a guy named Mike Brock, we had it so that I could store Bitcoin in my cash account and then pay with cash card and it would auto-convert to the merchant into Fiat. But we thought it more important to have some sort of psychological break on it. So actually selling it, indicating that I want to pay and Fiat was far better than just blindly selling or blindly spending Bitcoin at the time, especially because transaction speeds were quite low. We did all this in cash up when we were a newly public company about a year-end up being public, maybe a year and a half. We were the first public company to talk with the SEC about Bitcoin and what it meant for us and what it meant for the world. It challenged absolutely everything. 

The challenge to our security protocols, the challenged legal compliance engineering product, everything. And even if the product flopped, even if Bitcoin did nothing for CashApp. I'm so grateful that we did it because we learned so much about who we were and who we are and what we're capable of because it was an immense amount of work in a very short time frame with significant challenges. So since then, we've continued to pull the thread. We're looking for opportunities to help Sellers. We have a lot of Sellers on cash up as well, so they're already utilizing it. And in some ways, especially as we just integrated lightning in the cash app, we acquired a music company called Title. We acquired because we didn't believe that artists were getting the right tools to participate in the economy in the same way that Sellers weren't getting the right tools to participate in the economy. There's a lot there. You know you look at everything happening in NFTS, the spirit of it in terms of answering the questions about how artists get paid for something. They're the manifestation and the implementation, which I think is completely wrong at the moment. We created an open-source unit called spiral five six seven open-source individuals who don't do who don't get Block stock. We pay them in Bitcoin. They get to work on whatever they want, as long as they're making their advancing bitcoin, they're protecting Bitcoin. They're making it stronger. 

They created a development called Lightning LDK or lightning development kit LDK, which allows wallets all over the world to easily integrate lightning without having to think too much about it. Cash app uses it is one of my proudest moments. We started this open-source entity as a company knowing full well that we would probably never get anything back from it. That was not our desire. We had no idea what they were going to do. And in just two years, one of our biggest businesses is using what they created. So I think it's a fantastic lesson. And in terms of doing more open source as corporations. And then finally, we have a new organization called TBD, which is a platform for bitcoin, specifically a distributed exchange to enable more and more people around the world to get into Bitcoin in a way that the current models don't really allow for. It's still very hard if you're outside the US Europe to get bitcoin, to get onto the network, to participate in the first place. So TVD will be building a distributed exchange that makes it easy for developers to build exchanges all over the world and create on-ramps from Fiat into Bitcoin. And once people are on bitcoin, then we have so many tools to empower people more into the economy. 

So I get the sense, like the theme here is financial inclusion. Well, yeah, it didn't quite register with me many years ago, but I suppose if you're a small business or an individual, you're kind of unbanked. If you can't take the credit card, you know, the first unbanked were small size entrepreneurs everywhere in the world, including even in the US and what you're doing at square is your kind of plugging them into the traditional conventional banking system, via the credit card and the like. And now they weren't just being excluded like only 40% of merchants who applied would get through. We took that number up to 99% But once they got into the traditional merchant acquirer, there's all this obscurity of information, so the acquirer would not show them how much they'd be paying in credit card fees because it varies depending on the card that the individual uses. So what would happen? We talked to all these merchants where the companies would come in, take their credit card fees in and cause them, you know, they had not enough money because they run razor-thin in their checking accounts. It would cause an overdraft. Then they have no money and suddenly they're hit with a $500 overdraft fees. So like just the obscurity of information was. Criminal so we solve the problem of getting more people in and then solve the security information problem. So that they could make more informed decisions around how to grow their business, how to survive in the first place, but to grow their business. 

So, so they're struggling to implement their own back-office payment systems. They're struggling to get on the credit card network. They're getting hit with fees from the conventional banking system. And Square is giving them a stack of software solutions and services to help them get into the network and then manage their business and avoid being victimized as the weakest player in the ecosystem. So with regard to that? Tell me about your thoughts about Bitcoin and square as a strategy, is there any way that you can? You can grow square, improve the product offering or offer benefits or opportunities for small businesses via Bitcoin. Well, you're just going back to that Native currency for the internet, like Twitter is very much an internet company where we could create a website or create an app and make it available everywhere, everyone and anyone in the world who finds it can use it. Companies like square and stripe are not really internet companies, because for us to exist in a market, we need to have a local relationship with the bank. We need to pay attention to the differences in local regulatory environment. So we have to go by this market, by market, by market approach. It took us 9 months to launch in the United States because of this conversation with the banks and the networks and whatnot. How many different markets are there? From a compliance point of view that you have to consider all of them. I mean, all of them are different. I mean, the European Union changed slightly, but like opening up in Ireland is completely different from opening up in Spain, which square just so you know, each one of these markets, we have to do this market by market. It took us two years for Australia over a year and a half for Japan. So the issue is that all these markets have different systems, they have different ways of doing things, different currencies, different models, and they all have some degree of obscurity of information as well, which makes development much, much harder. If Bitcoin existed when we started was it was at Mass and we can launch something like cash up utilizing Bitcoin as a lightning as the transport mechanism. We can be in every single App Store around the world today. 

So it really speeds up our time to market. It speeds up how we can build more tools on top of the network, on top of the foundation to add even more value to our customers, if they find it valuable, so like, it really changes it for us, like if this does become more and more of a means of transport, of money and energy and time, then we get to move much faster. We get to open more markets faster. We get to see square and cash up and title and more places. And we can be more like an internet company. And even if Bitcoin existed before Twitter started. I think we would see completely different business models. We wouldn't I don't think we would be as dependent upon an advertising business model. I think there would be a much healthier balance on multiple business models at once instead of this overdependence upon one. I think we'd see a lot less of the issues that advertising systems can bring up in terms of privacy and, you know, everything we're seeing around surveillance, capitalism as well. So the fact that the internet didn't have this mode of transport didn't have this protocol and didn't have this currency forced into very traditional models that became massive of scale and then can become quite dangerous at scale as well. So I'm very excited to see the new models that emerge because we now have we now have Bitcoin and we now have. 

We're now the closest we've ever been to a native currency for the internet, which to me like changes everything. So TCP/IP is like the universal digital information protocol, and that caused all these internet companies to be able to deploy their services everywhere on Earth simultaneously without jumping through compliance hoops and having armies of lawyers, right? But you see you see Bitcoin lightning as a universal monetary protocol. Yeah, 100% I mean, and probably beyond that, I mean, there was a time early in Bitcoin's history when there was less of a focus on Bitcoin as a currency aspect and just as that transport and more on blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is amazing, but the network's power is what people do with it. And the use cases and the use case for the internet to have something like this is, I think, as fundamental as TCP/IP or HTTP SMP, which is a mail protocol. So these open protocols. Create companies, they create projects, they create entirely new cultural and societal shifts that I think ultimately lead to more trust and more transparency. As time goes on and diminishment of all these barriers and boundaries that we've erected in. So you know, if I'm a small business. And the benefit of building the lightning Bitcoin monetary protocol into the small business applications that square would be potentially could roll out services worldwide simultaneously. And second, everybody wouldn't have to route their transactions through credit cards and individual banks, which then terminate at a central bank in each nation, which which means that all the small businesses could trade with each other, I suppose, everywhere in the world. So it's like the fees get driven down by a factor of 1,000. 

The world trades with each other, and then it would create maybe an acceleration in product development because you don't have to rebuild the feature set 97 times and run it through some complicated compliance review and then negotiate with a bunch of counterparties. Is that right? Or mine being 100 percent? I think the biggest point in what you just said of what is so important is all that is transparent. I can see the fees that Bitcoin imposes on me and I can determine why. There at that particular amount, why they're high or why they're low based on what's happening within the network, so that level of transparency builds a lot more trust, it also builds intent and incentive to make the network even more efficient. And what causes greater efficiencies or make it even more secure? How do we add protections or anonymity or privacy? So all these things being transparent clearly display the problems, whereas in the typical financial industry and especially corporate finance those tools, they're all in a Black box. You can't see anything. You can't see how they work. You can't see how they're priced. And I think that goes such a far way in terms of usage over time. Knowing a system is definitely a great incentive to wanting to use it more and more because you trust it more and more. So I guess I sense a theme here with if Sellers were excluded from the economy and squares Square's application services, you know, empower them, is the idea behind title to empower artists to participate in the economy and give them control of their own destiny in the same way, like we, we on the surface, it looks like a financial company bought a music streaming company. And what's interesting about Title is that Jay and the team. I have always been focused from an artist perspective, from a musician's perspective and the lack of fairness in the model right now. 

So title pays out more than anyone else, but we're also doing things that kind of question the fundamentals of how artists have been paid in the past. But certainly there's no gap in streaming music or podcast today. You have two massive, three massive players Amazon, Apple and Spotify. We don't have any strong. Hope that we're going to compete on that ground. What we do think there's an, you know, an open space around is artist tools and how they create, how they collaborate, how they find each other, how they participate, not only in the economy but also in the music space. So a typical artist today does not get that much from streaming revenue. They get the majority from merchandise and touring, and square has commerce sites. We can integrate those right into title and make it easy for an artist to start one up immediately, but also make sure that they are open and free to be consumed and listened to on every other single platform out there. There's also a lot within just the streaming use case and the format that is interesting. This is where I think the spirit of NFT, there's something. It's the right question to ask. We currently have the wrong answers, the question around contribution to artists. 

That particular question is interesting and definitely the right one to ask and one we're asking a lot, but to do so in a much better foundation. And I think, you know, we're what's exciting to me is we're only we talk so much of around layer one Bitcoin. We talk a little bit around layer 2 and and lightning. But there are layers on top of that as well, and this is a foundation that can be utilized for so much exchange by you. It doesn't have to be purely limited to what we consider it to be today, so I'm really excited about those. I don't know if they're who can define what a layer 3 or layer to it at the moment. But there's something else there on top of these fundamentals that I think allows us to re-envision something like how an artist gets paid and how they connect with their fans and what that relationship with their relationship ultimately is. And there's some very specific practical problems in there that we're working on right now, like an extraordinary passion in the world today to own yourself. The artists want to own themself and that's, you know, driving NFTs and the musicians want to own themself. And can you give me some autonomy or some sovereignty versus big tech or versus big finance? And how can I live my life and create beautiful things and be fairly compensated? And so I think square and and title tap into that. Now talk about layer 3. 

I think the big layer three, maybe the most successful layer 3 on Bitcoin is cash out. When I think about it is let's talk about cash up because it's an extraordinary success. I mean, having you sold more than $10 billion worth of Bitcoin through cash, you know, tell me about CashApp and Bitcoin and also the lightning integration and what you've learned, what you've seen, what your plans are there. Yeah, CashApp is AI think for anyone in a company, there's always these moments when you have to be prepared to lose credibility and and you do so by taking risks that you believe in. So CashApp was something that everyone in the company at the time we started, it didn't think we should be doing, including one of our former colleagues who works at PayPal. So that problem has been solved and peer-to-peer transfer. We'll never, we'll never win, and we just we wanted it so much that we continue to build in for four, four years, three or four years. It was just a very hard slog where the company wanted to kill it. We weren't seeing much traction in the market, but in every one of those days I went on, I was losing credibility, which I was hyper aware of defending this thing and. I, you know, eventually the team found a model and made it work and they unlocked it and some of these things just need time and space. And the same is true for when we put Bitcoin and the cash up. It was another one of those. OK, I'm ready to lose a bunch of credibility and no one believes in this thing. No one believes it should be in cash up. Some people think we're being either reckless or irresponsible with the world. If we integrate this and all those moments kind of add up, but you power through and you, you see it through and the market responds in a particular way. And the market responded with cash because I think the magic of it is it's not just about one thing. It's, you know, if I have a need to send money to my friends or my family, I can use Cash App. If I ever need to buy bitcoin, I can use Cash App. If I won a card that I can use anywhere an ATM, I can use Cash App. If I want to buy stocks, I can use cash up. So our models that run this ecosystem, like how do we build an ecosystem of financial tools that positively reinforce one another? And Bitcoin is a big part of that, and the team within cash up the Bitcoin team with them, cash up is extremely principled and focus on education and focus on doing things the right way and not rushing things and not doing two things too soon. But making sure that there's a desire for it and need and necessity and then, you know, seeing it through and we've seen all that with our implementation of Bitcoin in cash up. And you know, we're excited to do even more. And what excites me the most is we're challenging ourselves. We're challenging even the cash out model. So we announce that we're building a Bitcoin wallet hardware wallet, which is non-custodial. 

Cash app is obviously a custodial wallet. I think custodial wallets and services like Cash App are great to start with. But again, to your point, like people want more of that feeling that they own it uniquely that goes into a non-custodial solution. And we're building this thing in such a way that we'll have this incredible off ramp from cash up into something that just works as a non-custodial solution as well. And most importantly, we've learned from Bitcoin or open sourcing the whole thing, including the industrial design, so that anyone can build whatever we discover and find out, and we're going to compete on quality and compete on Build and compete on services around it that I think are valuable. Like, you know, different models of security, potentially where you don't have to do as much. Key management is one such model, but there's others, obviously, including around analytics and whatnot. So I think we're striking the right balance of, you know, starting with something that is critical. And then kind of expanding in a way that gets at what the technology actually wants to be ultimately. And we learned all that through cash up in Bitcoin. How many people use cash up, what's the silhouette of that product? We we have our earnings coming up soon, so I'll tune in for that. Listen to those numbers then. OK a lot, right? So so you've got a custodial wallet and I can buy stocks and I can acquire cash and I can acquire Bitcoin. And it's super slick and super easy to use and I use it. I think it's just awesome. It's kind of sets the standard for how you ought to do a really good mobile digital wallet and. The difference here is you're thinking you're going to give people the ability to take their Bitcoin and take it off the cash out network and take self-custody. And that's something that's not going to happen anytime soon with your Apple stock or any kind of security, right? Maybe I don't know. In theory, anything's possible, but I don't see it happening any time soon. Maybe ever. I don't know. And even if you did, what would it mean to take personal custody of a stock certificate? You still you still just own a share in somebody else's company. You don't own your own property. Exactly so really, the deep idea here is, I guess, Cash App is kind of on ramp off ramp or the toll for the consumer, and then they can get self sovereignty of their own property. 

Yeah and it's about choice. Like I feel I may feel more comfortable paying a company like cash app, which is effectively what you're doing. You're paying cash out to secure your Bitcoin and that comes at, you know, at some cost and trade off. Or am I feel comfortable putting my Bitcoin into a wallet and I secure it and and I'm confident in my abilities to do so, or I or I use a service to help me with that key management. So I think the more choice, the better. And certainly we're going to learn a ton, the more choice we give people in terms of where we're failing. If people choose to move it off Cash App and why they might keep the Bitcoin in cash up. Why is that? Maybe maybe it's because of lightning. Maybe it's because the world becomes more transactional with bitcoin, and therefore cash up is like the easiest, fastest way to exchange that value. I don't I don't know yet, but we're going to be open to answering those questions in a principled way. The ability to take possession of your own property or your own digital property like Bitcoin is what separates Bitcoin apart from most other digital securities and the like. But your openness to being willing to let people take self custody is what gives the entire ecosystem a certain ethical, moral superiority against alternative investments or alternative assets. And from my point of view, what allows me to think out 100 years and think this has. 

This has the ethical, the ethical and the moral superiority that makes it durable for a century. And I don't feel that way about other forms of digital securities or the like. It's predictable, it's deliberate, and it's predictable. I mean, Bitcoin gets a lot of knocks, especially in the mainstream media, the technology, mainstream media versus Ethereum. In terms of speed of development. Ethereum moves very, very fast in comparison, but it's a question of what is the ultimate outcome of those moves. Bitcoin is. Very deliberate about what goes in and what stays out. And that does mean it's slower, but those slower things tend to last and they tend to be a whole lot more predictable in terms of the direction they're going. They tend to be a lot more secure. They tend to have far better uptime and usability than anything else. And that's not to say that there's a ton of great ideas in the sandbox everywhere and happening in all these other projects. There are great sandboxes that will test ideas very, very quickly, but that deliberateness is what makes Bitcoin to me. The potential for this internet's native currency and gives so much confidence as a business owner, as someone running one of these companies that it's going to stick around and it's going to serve billions of people throughout decades going forward. Yeah, you can have lots of innovation at layer 2 with projects that compete against lightning or layer 3 with applications that compete against Cash App. 

But I don't have to speculate about who's going to inherit the Block corporation in 100 years. If I do business with you now, I have the option to take my level three assets to a layer or to a layer one and give them to my grandchildren. And that makes all the difference. I think that the focus should always be on the protocol and owning in some way the protocol. So let's talk, let's talk about speed, then lightning. Lightning is an open, permissionless, noncustodial, high speed protocol. Bitcoin is a similar sort of a low speed, durable protocol. How important is lightning? How do you view lightning versus your, you know, Cash App has a proprietary layer three way of moving Bitcoin around and then you've got experience with lightning. No one's more qualified to opine on the benefits of centralized versus decentralized payments than you. When when we started square, one of the things that we found was every time we demoed the product I took on my phone, I put the reader on the headphone Jack and I swiped someone's credit card. They would say, Wow. And that while I was like the speed like, how did you just do that? It felt like magic. That's kind of the feeling you have when you do your first lightning transaction for something real. Whether it be a digital good or a physical good which is happening, these physical goods accepting lightning is just happening more and more. And it's not necessarily certainly the speed is a big part of it, but just the fact that, for instance, I just fired up a minor in my house and aren't minor and my house, and it's just chugging away. And it's sending all this Bitcoin to slush pool, which then sends it to my moon wallet. And then I can take my moon wallet and I can go out and I can buy a taco. And just the fact that I was able to do that is incredible. 

Big smile. Wow, moment like, wow, it changes everything. I mean, it literally changes everything and that didn't go through a bank that don't go through a government. That went from a hugely complex but self-regulated calculation and solving of a puzzle to an open network, open protocol that I could see every single part right to the hands of a seller. That's that's amazing. So I think lightning makes Bitcoin even more accessible, especially to smaller Sellers. It certainly makes it more convenient to individuals because they don't have to wait for a transaction time that is 8 to 10 minutes. And you know, we're getting an opportunity to see a grand experiment at scale in Salvador, where you have a closed loop economy effectively. And I think, you know, we're going to learn a lot from that to better lightning to better Bitcoin and to better this concept of this open monetary system. And I think those lessons will be very important as we continue to scale this around the world, know that famous Gibson quote, the future is already here. It's just not evenly distributed. Probably a big part of the future happening. And so in El Salvador right now, that's not evenly distributed around the world, and little by little, it will be. 

It may not be this the manifestation that we see right now, but the spirit of it is probably going to rhyme with what we see in other countries and certainly in the future. So lightning and cash is just another one of those iterations that allow more people to use it. It can more convenient for more people, and that just increases the accessibility of the network and what we're all trying to do. Yeah, you've got the lightning SDK to make that available to corporations. Do you think lightning is going to spread to all the other crypto exchanges or digital wallets or the like? Or how do you see that playing out? I think it goes back to the coin is very practical and utilitarian, so if it makes sense from a utility perspective, absolutely. We just wanted to increase the probability that people could integrate it, and that's what the LDK is. It's just increasing the probability that if I need lightning, I can do it very quickly. And I imagine the answer is 100% Yes, like it spreads everywhere. But the probability of it spreading before LDK was quite low because of the complexity of integrating lightning in the first place. So amazing job to. You use your own product and Cash App to put lightning into Cash App. Oh Yeah. Oh Yeah. That was probably the big that was the big thing, right? I mean. I mean, that's the big thing was like we started this. Like, I guess I asked my colleague mike, like, what is it? Biggest thing that we can do for the Bitcoin community, he said. Hi and pay five open-source developers to work entirely in bitcoin, whatever they want. We did it. We called it square crypto, and it's now called spiral. And they decided this guy named Steve Lee hired a team. And we even said, like, if you all want to work on five different projects, do that. 

They decided to work on one project, which is this lightning development kit, and within two years they had it out to multiple wallets, made it available and Wallace started adopting it. But what's even more, what makes me proud is like as square as Block. We will never expect you to utilize anything from that. Like, if we did amazing. But within two years, cash up was built on their framework, which was completely open source and not directed by the company, not directed by a corporation. And we benefited so massively from it. So if there are any companies out there that are considering funding open source, whether it be an internal team like we did or just to projects that you appreciate. Definitely do it like have some amount of your portfolio dedicated to funding open source development. So let's move on to the last topic Bitcoin for corporations and your advice. But what kind of advice would you have for a corporation thinking about plugging Bitcoin into their business and what kind of opportunities do you see? I think the. I think even if you don't use or don't believe you could use Bitcoin in your company, I think it's worth your study because there's a number of lessons in it that will make your company better, how you operate your company, how you interact with the world, how you think, how you execute. I've just learned so much from it, but have made everything about my company and what we do much better. And, you know, if I were to start another company, those lessons would just be so great. So and then as we talked about, like Bitcoin is very utilitarian and practical. You don't necessarily have to build anything into your products or services that are Bitcoin oriented unless you feel that there's a need or there is an efficiency or something that is going to be helped. But it certainly has many, many. It solves many problems in very different ways. I mean, you are famous, Michael, for solving one of your problems in a very specific way in terms of buying more and more Bitcoin based on a problem that you saw and a very creative solution in what Bitcoin provides you as a solution, as I'd answer. And I think that was brilliant. I think it's genius. Certainly that's one path for many companies watching this. And there's another path in terms of what we've done in Block. We're a financial company. We're building financial tools. 

There's obvious intersections. There's something like Twitter, which has a base of people using it that are global, that need that for us to enable something like tipping all around the world. They need a global understanding, shared understanding and awareness of one currency. So it makes sense. It's small today, of course, but it'll grow because the use case is there and it's important. So I would just look critically at your business and what can you learn from bitcoin? Number one, that would make your business better. I think there's a ton. And are there any practical applications within either purchasing it or building it into your products or utilizing it or providing services for it, which I think is the real value going forward, especially for financially oriented companies of the services around the Bitcoin ecosystem? I think there's I think there's a ton of potential there. If you look at fintech and social media companies over the next three to five years, do you have any thoughts or a forecast for how rapidly they'll get involved in Bitcoin or to what degree they might? Well, I mean, look at I obviously I don't know Facebook's metals plans, but look at this, this. This whole thing with libra, and then I think there's a ton of lessons that, you know, they tried to create a currency that was owned by Facebook, probably for the right reasons, probably for noble reasons. But there are also some reasons that would indicate trying to get more and more people into the Facebook ecosystem. And they did that instead of using an open protocol and standard like Bitcoin. And I think, you know, hopefully they learned a lot, but I think there was a lot of wasted effort and time when those two years or three years or however long it's been could have been spent making Bitcoin more accessible for more people around the world, which would also benefit their messenger product and Instagram and WhatsApp and all these things. We have this open network right now, and it's usable. It's not accessible to everyone. It's usable. 

The easier we make it, the faster we make it, the more approachable we make it better. Everything, including everything that the Facebook intended to do with Libra. So yeah, I mean, I think it changes a lot, but we just have to be open to not having to own the thing. You don't get to own it, to get value from it. So the real message is study the protocol, understand the protocol. Embrace an open, permissionless global protocol. You built a bunch of proprietary applications on top, like cash out there were enormously successful that have been great for the company. But you also leave an open protocol and you're supporting the open protocol so people can take possession and you can be compatible. Yeah and given back to it, like making sure like all of our products, all of our Bitcoin products going forward, TBD the Bitcoin miner. We're doing the Bitcoin wallet we're doing, they're all open source. They're all going to be made in public because we've learned I've learned a lot. Beating a company and building a company. And I've learned a ton for Bitcoin. And we're hardworking down to the Bitcoin path. Awesome look, I want to thank you on behalf of everybody in the Bitcoin community and Thanks and Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us today. You have any final last words for the group. Well, I mean, anything you learned from Bitcoin or at this conference, I mean, we only get better as we share it. So good. Get active within your companies. Get active within your communities. Share your ideas. No question or ideas is dumb. Some of them have been asked before, but there's always new angles and insights that we can learn from. So the more conversation about this, the better, especially the things that you're afraid of, because it allows us to address those things in a much more thorough way. Now I leave this conversation with just new source of energy, and I'm thinking about what a beautiful future we have here if we all work together. Yeah, Thanks. Thank you, Michael. Thank you all. OK Thanks to everybody. And all the best. 

 

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