In October, Square CEO Jack Dorsey let loose that the financial services firm (since renamed Block) was "considering building a Bitcoin mining system."
Three months later and those considerations have become reality.
"We’re officially building an open bitcoin mining system," Dorsey tweeted today in response to a tweet thread from Block general manager of hardware Thomas Templeton.
According to Templeton, Block is working on a low-maintenance, affordable Bitcoin mining rig for everyday customers that's also quiet enough to be used at home. Speaking to issues of reliability, Templeton wrote that mining rigs "become non-functional almost every day, which requires a time-consuming reboot. We want to build something that just works."
We’re officially building an open bitcoin mining system ✨ https://t.co/PaNc7gXS48
— jack⚡️ (@jack) January 13, 2022
Block says it's not going at it alone, although it is putting together a team that includes systems and software engineers, as well as specialists in ASIC mining technology. "We are interested in performance and open-source and our own elegant system integration ideas," he wrote.
Dorsey previously said the company could help create a mining system that was more energy-efficient than the current options. "Energy is a system-level problem that requires innovation in silicon, software, and integration," he tweeted in October.
Aside from Dorsey's fall hint, it's little surprise that Block is wading into hardware development for Bitcoin. Its 45-year-old chief exec is a Bitcoin maximalist who has previously said he would leave his CEO roles if Bitcoin needed him more. “I don’t think there’s anything more important in my lifetime to work on,” he told attendees at Bitcoin Miami in June 2021. Well, in November, Dorsey did leave his job as Twitter CEO, giving him more time to focus on Square.
In a matter of days, Square changed its name to Block, referencing the blockchain technology that powers Bitcoin. Square's Cash App, which facilitates Bitcoin purchases, has also ramped up its marketing campaign, reaching new audiences through Instagram and Twitter BTC giveaways by celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow.
Square isn't just working on Bitcoin mining. In mid-November, its TBD division released a white paper for a decentralized exchange for swapping Bitcoin and fiat. And just this week, Cash App indicated it would begin integrating with the Bitcoin Lightning Network, which allows people to send BTC at a lower transaction cost.