Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey and rapper Jay Z have created an endowment to fund bitcoin development initially in Africa and India, Dorsey said Friday.
The duo is putting 500 bitcoin, which is currently worth $23.6 million, in the endowment called ₿trust. The fund will be set up as a blind irrevocable trust, Dorsey said, adding that the duo won’t be giving any direction to the team.
₿trust is looking to hire three board members. The mission of the fund is to “make bitcoin the internet’s currency,” a job application describes.
Governments in both Africa and India have so far been reluctant to embrace bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Friday’s move comes as New Delhi is inching closer to introduce a law that would ban private cryptocurrencies in the nation.
“Even though India is the software development capital of the world, we haven’t contributed to bitcoin core development in any significant way,” Varun Deshpande, co-founder of OnJuno, which is building a digital banking platform from India for Asian Americans, told TechCrunch. “India always had the skills to continue but lacked the right incentives. This initiative is even more significant since it provides the right incentives for developers from the world’s largest democracy to contribute and have a say in bitcoin’s protocol development and bring in a diversity of thoughts in shaping the future of money. The irony is as India prepares a bill to ban bitcoin in India, the world is turning to our massive technical talent in India to secure and safeguard the bitcoin network,”
Dorsey has long supported the adoption of cryptocurrency. Square already supports bitcoin and last year acquired about $50 million worth of bitcoin for its corporate treasury, and Twitter is studying the potential use of bitcoin to pay its employees and vendors.
In an interview with CNBC earlier this week, Twitter Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal said, “We’ve done a lot of the upfront thinking to consider how we might pay employees should they ask to be paid in bitcoin, how we might pay a vendor if they ask to be [paid] in bitcoin and whether we need to have bitcoin on our balance sheet should that happen. It’s something we continue to study and look at, we want to be thoughtful about over time, but we haven’t made any changes yet.”
Many high-profile industry executives have called for nations to embrace bitcoin. Balaji Srinivasan, an angel investor and entrepreneur who previously served as the Chief Technology Officer of Coinbase, earlier this month made a case for why India should embrace bitcoin.
“India has the talent to pull this off. Such a move would make international headlines, attract global support from the world’s technologists and financiers, differentiate India from the increasingly zero-sum economic policies pushed by America and China, and put the country at the forefront of a trillion dollar industry,” he wrote, envisioning the potential unblocking bitcoin would create for India.
This is a developing story. More to follow….
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