Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Square, the $32.7 billion mobile payment giant based in the U.S., revealed that Square would fund three to four developers and a designer to work on the open-source protocol of Bitcoin and the crypto ecosystem.
Independent of the core business strategies of Square, the team of developers and a designer will work to contribute to the cryptocurrency ecosystem in a variety of ways, potentially by contributing to the open-source codebase of the Bitcoin network.
The initiative, which has been welcomed by the cryptocurrency community and the industry with overwhelming optimism, could be crucial in increasing the awareness of the cryptocurrency ecosystem and the need for open-source developers to maintain blockchain networks.
Throughout the past decade, open-source developers have contributed to the development of the Bitcoin network with virtually no financial incentives, with the sole intent of improving the flagship cryptocurrency.
A multi-billion dollar business like Square that has dominance over its respective market adopting the idea of financially supporting developers to work on the Bitcoin blockchain protocol and to improve the crypto ecosystem could potentially have a lasting positive impact on the long-term growth of the industry, especially if other businesses follow the footsteps of Square.
As Dorsey, the CEO of Square and Twitter, wrote :
“Square has taken a lot from the open source community to get us here. We haven’t given enough back. This is a small way to give back, and one that’s aligned with our broader interests: a more accessible global financial system for the internet.”
“I love this technology and community. I’ve found it to be deeply principled, purpose-driven, edgy, and…really weird. Just like the early internet! I’m excited to get to learn more directly.”
It could also spread awareness to many companies, institutions, investors, and users that public blockchain networks need open-source developers to continuously contribute to their codebases and without the developers, the growth of the sector may stagnate.
Meltem Demirors, an executive at CoinShares, praised the efforts of Square in embracing free and open-source software, noting that not many multi-billion dollar companies in the cryptocurrency industry have led similar initiatives.
“Awesome to see Square embrace FOSS and support the ecosystem in this way. i can name crypto unicorns who have hired full time community contributors on one hand. Level up!,” she said.
Industry executives have generally expressed optimism towards the efforts of both Square and Dorsey to help grow, sustain, and increase the adoption of cryptocurrencies.
On the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in early February, Dorsey explained that Square is the first publicly-traded company to offer bitcoin services and the first publicly-traded company to lead discussions with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about bitcoin.
“The reason we enabled the purchasing of bitcoin within the Cash App is we wanted to learn about the technology and we wanted to put ourselves out there and take some risks.”
“We’re the first publicly traded company to actually offer it as a service. We’re the first publicly traded company to talk to the SEC about Bitcoin and what that means, and it made us uncomfortable. We had to really understand what was going on. And that was critical and important.”
At the time Square’s Cash App first integrated bitcoin purchases for its users, it was perceived as an ambitious initiative even for an innovative company like Square.
Since then, Square has continued to increase its efforts in contributing to the increasing awareness of bitcoin and the crypto ecosystem.