Block, Inc. is the parent company to a host of digital financial solutions including Square. The company was founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey (also founded Twitter) and Jim McKelvey as a solution to a problem faced by McKelvey. Mr. McKelvey was unable to complete a transaction because he was unable to accept credit cards and that provided inspiration for Mr. Dorsey. The firm was founded in St. Louis but now has no official headquarters, instead choosing to do most work remotely or from one of several key hubs. That decision was made in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic when it became clear telecommuting was a solution that worked.
The original Square app provides a multitude of payment and POS solutions that include hardware and software. The hardware includes the iconic Square card mag-stripe reader that can be plugged into any tablet or smartphone as well as many other solutions. The software enables sellers to turn their smart devices into POS on a temporary or permanent/dedicated basis.
The company went public in 2015 when it IPOd on the NASDAQ stock exchange and then later decided to change its name to Block to better represent the business. Today, Block, Inc. operates as a network of businesses that are working together to expand access to the economy. The core brands are Square, CashApp, AfterPay, Weebly, Tidal, Spiral, and TBD.
The Square brand encompasses all the core business including but not limited to hardware and its related software. The CashApp business is a money transfer solution that is working to make money more available and universally acceptable. Afterpay is a buy-now-pay-later service. Weebly is an eCommerce and web hosting service for small and medium-sized businesses. Tidal is a platform for musicians and artists to connect with fans and monetize their brands. Spiral is the firm's cryptocurrency division and TBD is a division focused on crypto, specifically building a crypto platform.
Block, Inc. stunned the market in 2020 when it began to purchase Bitcoin. Then Square, the company purchased Bitcoin in two transactions for a total of $210 million. The holdings amount to 8,027 Bitcoins which were worth $154.75 million in October 2022. The purpose of Spiral is to fund open-sourced applications that encourage and facilitate the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Mr. Dorsey remains the CEO and chairman of Block, Inc. The company employs more than 8,500 individuals across its footprint and netted $17.66 billion in revenue for 2021. Mr. Dorsey is also the company’s largest shareholder with about 10% of the shares.