- Square is changing its parent company name to Block, with the legal details expected to be completed by Dec. 10, the company said in a press release Wednesday. It will keep the Square brand for the digital payments business that became synonymous with the white square reader used to connect to its payments processing.
- The name change is designed to accommodate the company's growth, from its start in 2009 as a vendor to small and mid-sized businesses, to a company today that also includes the financial services business Cash App, the open finance software development platform TBD54566975 and a controlling stake in the music streaming venture TIDAL.
- The company said there won't be any other organizational changes, although it did note that its Square Crypto initiative, focused on the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, will also change its name to Spiral.
Another business that falls under the newly named corporate umbrella is the mammoth buy now-pay later operation that Square bought in form of Afterpay in August. It paid a lofty $29 billion to acquire the Australian business that was a pioneer in 21st-century installment financing arena and helped drive a worldwide trend.
The change comes just two days after news that Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and CEO of Square, now Block, announced he would step away from his CEO role at the social media company Twitter, another blockbuster Internet business he co-founded. (Twitter named its chief technology officer, Parag Agrawal, as Dorsey's successor at the micro-blogging company.)
Leaving Twitter now allows Dorsey to immerse himself even more deeply in the sprawling Block business, and his stated mission of allowing more people to tap financial services.
“We built the Square brand for our Seller business, which is where it belongs,” said Dorsey said in a press release. “Block is a new name, but our purpose of economic empowerment remains the same. No matter how we grow or change, we will continue to build tools to help increase access to the economy.”
The press release distinguished the TBD business from the newly named Spiral unit even though they're both working with digital assets. As a result of adopting the Block name, the company said "Square Crypto, a separate initiative of the company dedicated to advancing Bitcoin, will change its name to Spiral." It referenced TBD54566975 earlier in the release. In October, Dorsey also said that the company might enter the bitcoin mining business, according to a report from broadcast outlet CNBC.
Square's rebranding is the latest corporate name change in the tech sector. Facebook rebranded its parent as Meta in October, calling the parent of the social media company "a social technology company. TransferWise, a provider of digital remittance services expanding in the U.S., changed its name in February to Wise. Google adopted the name Alphabet for its corporate parent in 2015.
As for what the new Block name signifies beyond another word for a square, the company had plenty to say. "The name has many associated meanings for the company — building blocks, neighborhood blocks and their local businesses, communities coming together at block parties full of music, a blockchain, a section of code, and obstacles to overcome," the release said.
As of December 31, 2020, Square had 5,477 full-time employees worldwide, including 662 outside the U.S., plus additional temporary employees.