Crypto & fintech

This article was published on February 17, 2022

Twitter’s accepting tips in Ethereum — and Dorsey must be fuming

Dorsey is about #TeamBitcoin


Twitter’s accepting tips in Ethereum — and Dorsey must be fuming
Ivan Mehta
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Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Last night, Twitter announced it’ll allow users to tip accounts via Ethereum.

This is the social network’s second crypto announcement in two months, after it enabled NFT-based profile pictures in January.

These developments have come after Jack Dorsey stepped down as the company’s CEO last year.

As a staunch Bitcoin supporter, Twitter’s new direction in cryptocurrencies might have annoyed him — especially as both announcements are related to Ethereum, a currency he appears dismissive of.

When considering all this, we had one important question: just how annoyed will Jack Dorsey be?

To find out, we explored his connection with digital currencies over the years.

Dorsey’s love for Bitcoin (is in his bio)

The Twitter co-founder has been public about his ‘loyalty’ towards Bitcoin. He’s been experimenting with the digital currency at his payment startup Square for some time now.

In a 2019 interview with TNW, Dorsey outlined a need for “a native internet currency.” At that time, he wanted Square to take an active part in developing the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Dorsey's Twitter bio clearly indicates his loyalty towards Bitcoin.
Dorsey’s Twitter bio clearly indicates his loyalty towards Bitcoin.

Last year, days after his departure from Twitter, he renamed Square to Block, hinting that its future would be tied in with blockchain technologies. The firm’s digital currency department working on Bitcoin — Square Crypto — was renamed Spiral.

Square has turned to Block.
Square has turned into Block.

During this time, Ethereum had assumed a favored position in the crypto world because of its ability to support apps built on the blockchain. Its supporters think of it as a superior technology to Bitcoin, which mostly just acts as a currency.

Jack vs. everyone (or web3)

Both these worlds collided when Dorsey openly criticized web3 last December, calling it a VC-controlled world.

He also made a dig at venture firm a16z. It has invested in mega web3 companies, including NFT marketplaces and projects like Opensea, Cryptokitties, and NBA Top Shot, as well as decentralized exchanges like Coinbase, Uniswap, and Coinswitch Kuber.

Notably, many of these projects are based on Ethereum.

So the community accused Dorsey of hating the decentralized protocol. While he cleared the air by saying he’s not “anti-ETH,” his tweets suggest otherwise.

This wasn’t the first time the Ethereum community had called out Dorsey. Last August, he posted about the Twitter-list app Vicariously, but the screenshot had a tweet from a Bitcoin supporter bashing Ethereum.

Minutes later, the Twitter co-founder fueled the fire with a tweet saying “There are no coincidences,” hinting that the screenshot was intentional.

Making a mark in the cryptocurrency world

Despite registering $1.81 billion in Bitcoin revenue (with a $42 million net profit) in Q3 2021 alone, Square isn’t the poster child of cryptocurrency finance it wants to be.

That, however, hasn’t stopped Dorsey from pushing his favorite digital currency.

Last month, he created a legal defense fund for Bitcoin developers. At the same time, Block announced it’s building an ‘open Bitcoin mining system’.

One of his biggest projects to date was announcing TBD last August, a division of Block that works on Bitcoin-based Decentralized exchange (DeX). It will supposedly allow developers to run solutions based on this protocol.

In response,​​ Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, expressed his doubts about the feasibility of the project.

A crying shame

When Dorsey was leading Twitter, the only notable cryptocurrency decision was to include Bitcoin as a payment medium for creator tips.

The Ethereum-related announcements over the past two months under new CEO, Parag Agrawal, show a clear divergence from this strategy.

And it makes perfect sense. Twitter should be tapping into hot cryptocurrency trends and trying to evolve. Change is vital if you want engaged users.

So, to answer our original question — would Dorsey be angry at the company he led twice for its support of Ethereum? Probably.

It’s tough to say for sure, but, from all the above, it seems clear he’d be at least a bit annoyed with Twitter’s new “web3-direction.”

It’s okay, Jack. Maybe another meditation retreat will help you get over it.

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