Block Sees Bitcoin Disrupting Payments Networks, Expects Self-Custody to Grow

CFO Amrita Ahuja said the crypto could become a “global currency for the internet.”

Bitcoin has potential to disrupt existing traditional payment networks, especially with the growing adoption of the Lightning Network, executives from payments company Block (SQ) said during its virtual investor day Wednesday.

The Lightning Network provides a cheaper and faster way to process bitcoin transactions than directly on the Bitcoin blockchain.

“Bitcoin is going to have a profound impact on financial services, particularly as a tool for economic empowerment and as a global currency for the internet,” Block Chief Financial Officer Amrita Ahuja said during the presentation.

lock, which was formerly known as Square, is building integrated hardware and software to address self-custody with its wallet, along with a decentralized mining system. Jack Dorsey, its CEO, is a well-known proponent of Bitcoin.

“These initiatives are early in their development,” Ahuja said. “We intend to build out in the open.” She added that Block expects self-custody to be the “future of decentralized finance” as the process becomes easier for individuals.

With respect to mining, Ahuja said that bitcoin mining currently is “not conducive for consumers or small companies to participate” in, and Block wants to expand access to the field. Ahuja said Block’s mining initiative also seeks to add resilience and security to the bitcoin ecosystem.

Ahuja said that with its TBD initiative, Block wants to enhance and change how consumers and financial institutions interact, ranging from verifying indemnity to underwriting and transferring money globally. TBD is a decentralized exchange that Block is building.

Brian Grassadonia, Cash App’s co-creator and lead, said that Bitcoin is a positive for Block as customers bring money into the overall ecosystem, with “multiple opportunities for monetization.” In addition, given Block’s network scale, Grassadonia believes Cash App can help bitcoin “evolve beyond an asset class,” and offer more transactional utility for individuals. Since bitcoin was incorporated into Cash App in 2018, the company has seen mover 10 million monthly active bitcoin users within its app, according to Grassadonia.