Jack Dorsey’s crypto division is focused on giving developers greater flexibility with Bitcoin and Lightning Network technology to streamline bitcoin wallets. | Credit: AP/Francois Mori
- Square Crypto is building a Lightning Dev Kit that will give developers more flexibility for Lightning tech and bitcoin wallets.
- Square’s crypto arm expects that bitcoin payments will overtake cash.
- Bitcoin’s volatility has gotten in the way of its use case for payments.
While some of Twitter gets on Jack Dorsey’s case for allegedly trying to interfere with the presidential election, he has set his sights on something else – crypto. Square Crypto, the Bitcoin development arm of $29 billion fintech giant Square, introduced what it calls the Lightning Development Kit (LDK), and it is what their developers are working feverishly on to bring bitcoin to the forefront for payments.
The unveiling of LDK happens to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, where another billionaire, Ray Dalio is making the media rounds. Unlike Dorsey, however, Dalio is no bitcoin bull even though he is touting a diversified investment portfolio.
While Dorsey and Dalio might be on opposite sides of the bitcoin spectrum, they appear to agree on one thing – cash is no longer king.
In its quest to bolster bitcoin into the mainstream, Square Crypto has decided to direct more resources to the Lightning Network. This technology is a second-layer scaling solution designed to accelerate payments and lower fees on the Bitcoin blockchain. What Dorsey’s crypto division plans to do is give developers greater flexibility with Bitcoin and Lightning technology that in a nutshell comes down to streamlining bitcoin wallets. If it works, and the number of bitcoin wallet addresses goes up, it would be a boon to the fundamentals surrounding bitcoin.
Square Crypto admits that it has taken on a huge undertaking with LDK, but they are keeping their eyes on the prize. According to the announcement:
[It’s] only a matter of time until instant, low-fee bitcoin payments are as common as cash used to be.
‘Cash Is Trash,’ Says Billionaire Ray Dalio
Incidentally, what Square Crypto is working on could be the solution to one of the issues that Wall Street tycoon Ray Dalio has with bitcoin. To be clear, the Bridgewater Associates founder is urging investors to get off the sidelines because “cash is trash.” After a blockbuster 2019, Dalio expects the bulls to remain in control for much of 2020, even if there are some hiccups along the way during times of the greatest uncertainty such as the presidential election.
One asset class that Dalio is not going near with a 10-foot pole, at least right now, is bitcoin. This despite the fact that the leading cryptocurrency was the top-performing asset of 2019, generating returns of 92%. He told CNBC at the World Economic Forum 2020 in Davos,
There are two purposes of money: a medium of exchange and a storehold of wealth. And bitcoin is not effective in either of those cases now…It’s too volatile. Because of the volatility, you can’t go next to it.
Instead of “digital gold,” Dalio prefers the precious metal to diversify an investment portfolio, though only a bit of it. Still, that should be music to ears of Peter Schiff, who recently got burned in the crypto market after losing access to his wallet.
While you might think that the crypto community would come out guns blazing in response to Dalio’s comments, think again. Gabor Gurbacs, director at VanEck, the firm whose bitcoin ETF application never got past the SEC, agreed with Dalio. Gurbacs said the bitcoin-averse investor is “right for now,” adding he “may not be right in a few years.”
While one of Dalio’s chief complaints is that bitcoin isn’t ready for prime time payments, Dorsey appears to be doing everything he can to fix that. Square Crypto’s LDK is certainly a step in the right direction and could be another rung in the ladder – another of which is Lolli, which rewards people for shopping online and paying with BTC – to catapult bitcoin into the mainstream for payments.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.
Last modified: January 22, 2020 11:38 PM UTC