Billionaire Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, says he became fascinated with bitcoin after reading its hauntingly “beautiful” whitepaper. Dorsey also reaffirmed his belief that bitcoin and blockchain are ushering in a new technological revolution.
Dorsey, who’s also the CEO of mobile payments company Square, made the revelations on Marty Bent’s podcast Tales from the Crypt.
Bent tweeted a photo of himself interviewing Dorsey at Square’s office. Naturally, the Twitter CEO retweeted the post.
On the podcast, Dorsey recounted that he first became interested in cryptography while growing up in St. Louis, Missouri. “We had a super-active hacker culture there,” he recalled.
Dorsey says he was on a cypherpunk mailing list that one day included a whitepaper by Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious creator of bitcoin. Dorsey said Nakamoto’s brilliant explanation of the mechanics of bitcoin blew his mind.
“Read it, thought it was beautiful. I think it was one of the most seminal works in the past 20 years in computer science.”
While Dorsey remained riveted by bitcoin, he didn’t really jump into it until January 2017, when he attended a Cash App hack week. That’s when he collaborated with an engineer named Mike Brock to devise a payment mechanism using bitcoin.
“Here’s a pic from first day of CashApp hack week,” Dorsey recently tweeted.
“I wanted to figure out if we could store bitcoin and then go across the street — and using our Apple Pay card — be able to spend that bitcoin to buy a cup of coffee. The following week, I actually bought coffee with it, which was really cool.”
Dorsey says the experiment made him realize that “there was so much potential” for using bitcoin to buy things.
Dorsey also doubled-down on his stance that the internet will ultimately have a native currency, and it will probably be bitcoin. He called the prospect extremely “exciting.”
“What does the internet ultimately want? It will want to have a native currency, or a currency that is effectively global and exists on its territory instead of through the territories of the various nation-states that we have today.”
“I can’t think of anything more exciting than that. It speaks to where the world is inherently going.”
Dorsey says the reason why he decided to integrate bitcoin within Square’s Cash App is because he wants to be at the forefront of the crypto-payments movement. And rather than stand idly by while this happens, Dorsey says he wants to help usher in the revolution:
“I don’t want to wait around for that to happen to me or to us as a company. I want to help make it happen. That’s why getting more into bitcoin and cryptocurrency was so interesting for us.”
“Apart from artificial intelligence, there’s no other technology that impacts Square more than [crypto]. So we should definitely have a well-formed opinion on what it does, and also how to contribute, how to make sure that we’re going to contribute to the goodness of it.”
When asked what is his grand vision of what the internet is becoming, Dorsey says the sky’s the limit.
“Imagine being born this year, growing up only knowing that the potential for a global currency exists. That is exciting.”
Dorsey said that just as the internet, cell phone, laptop, and tablet computer changed the world, “the same will be true for bitcoin and blockchain and digital currency.”
Dorsey says he’s almost envious of today’s youth, who are exposed to cutting-edge technology at such a young age. And he finds the unlimited potential of such advanced technology absolutely intoxicating.
“I think there’s a massive acceleration that’s going to happen in the next 10 years because a generation growing up knowing that these technologies exist — and being able to have this incredibly accessible environment to program in — that’s what excites me.”