Block—formerly known as Square—is a company developing an integrated ecosystem of commerce solutions, business software, and banking services for sellers. Block is composed of Square, Cash app, Spiral, Tidal, and TBD, all of which work to build tools to help people access the economy.
The change of name from Square to Block was intended to create a corporate entity that could house the Square brand alongside the company's other main subsidiaries (Cash app, Spiral, Tidal, and TBD). The name change was also done to reflect the new company's interest in blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. The new name (Block) is also meant to represent various meanings for the company, including building blocks, neighborhood blocks, block parties, blockchain, a block of code, and a block as an obstacle to overcome.
The name change also came at a time when other companies in the technology industry were renaming to signal a change to new and emerging technologies (such as Facebook's change to Meta). For Block, the name change was to signal its own technology development interests expanding beyond the small square card readers the company began with.
The name change was completed around December 10, 2021, to formally change "Square, Inc." into "Block, Inc." while the company's NYSE ticker symbol "SQ" is not expected to change.
Square sells hardware, including a point-of-sale (POS) system. It has analytics and sales reporting capabilities as well as sales and inventory tracking. Clients can use the POS to process their customers' payments that are made with credit or debit cards. The POS includes the Square register, customer display, a power adapter cable, and more. There is also a Square terminal system that can take payments and print receipts. Clients can buy smaller hardware that connects directly to their own smartphone or tablet and reads credit or debit cards. These devices are known as the "Magstripe" and "Contactless and Chip."
Originally known as Square Crypto, with the renaming of Square to Block, Square Crypto was renamed to Spiral to continue the work the company has done to advance Bitcoin. Spiral works to fund free, open-source projects that work to improve Bitcoin's privacy, security, user experience, and ability to scale, and to increase the wider adoption of Bitcoin as a currency.
Block also offers a mobile app called "Cash App," which can be used to instantly send or receive money. To use any of the company's solutions or services, clients must pay the fee according to the company's website. The Cash App expanded from a sending and receiving money app to allow users to spend that money, bank the money, and purchase stocks and Bitcoin through the Cash App, expanding its financial services.
Tidal is a music-streaming service that was launched in 2014 with the purpose of streaming HiFi sound quality music while also offering an artist-first, fan-centered platform model. Tidal has since become a majority-owned part of the Block umbrella of companies.
TBD is an open-source project working to develop decentralized and trustless financial services systems that allow users to engage in economic transactions without needing to prove their creditworthiness, without requiring account fees to participate, and that is not subject to censorship.
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