When Jack Dorsey stepped down as the CEO of Twitter, speculation was growing that his focus would shift to cryptocurrencies.
Days later, it was announced that his payments company Square was changing its name to Block.
And now, it’s been confirmed that Block is building an “open Bitcoin mining system.”
On Twitter (where else?) Block executive Thomas Templeton said the company wants to make mining “more distributed and efficient in every way” — describing it as a “long-term need for a future that is fully decentralized and permissionless.”More than 90% of the 21 million BTC that will ever exist has already been mined, but the blockchain is going to continue playing a crucial role in verifying transactions. Templeton said:
“For most people, mining rigs are hard to find. Once you’ve managed to track them down, they’re expensive and delivery can be unpredictable.”
He added that Block wants to make it so that “anyone, anywhere, can easily purchase a mining rig” — all while ensuring equipment is reliable and eliminates common issues such as heat dissipation and dust that means “they also become non-functional almost every day, which requires a time-consuming reboot.”
Close attention is also going to be paid to striking a balance between lower levels of power consumption and higher hashrates — not least because many mining rigs are too loud for home use.
As Block now begins the process of building new products, Templeton also confirmed that the company is embarking on a hiring spree — and is interested in learning about some of the other pain points that exist with mining systems, alongside the partners it should consider.
‘Mining Isn’t Accessible to Everyone’
Dorsey had confirmed that Block was looking into establishing an open Bitcoin mining system back in October — and said “driving towards clean and efficient energy use is great for Bitcoin’s economics, impact and scalability.”
And amid concerns that Bitcoin’s hashrate is heavily concentrated, with most mining power in the hands of a small number of companies, he added:
“Mining isn’t accessible to everyone. Bitcoin mining should be as easy as plugging a rig into a power source. There isn’t enough incentive today for individuals to overcome the complexity of running a miner for themselves. What are the biggest barriers for people running miners?”
In a nutshell, it appears that Block’s plans are at a very nascent stage — and serve as a complement to other things being worked on.
The company is also working on a physical Bitcoin wallet, has invested heavily to hold crypto on its balance sheet, and allows consumers to buy and sell BTC through the Cash App. Indeed, a number of NFL athletes are now getting part of their salaries in crypto through this platform — and have entered into partnerships with Cash App to give away millions of dollars to fans who sign up.
Inevitably, not everyone is too wild on the idea of Bitcoin mining being opened to the masses. Replying to Dorsey’s thread back in October, one user wrote: