The social media giant Twitter is launching a “new team focused on crypto, blockchains and other decentralized technologies,” claims the woman who has been picked to lead it.
The team will be called Twitter Crypto, and the woman in question is Tess Rinearson, who has previously worked at the payments provider Interstellar and also at Tendermint, where she helped develop the Tendermint Core consensus engine.
In a Twitter post, Rinearson said her team’s work would “include” and “go beyond cryptocurrencies.”
“We’ll be exploring how we can support the growing interest among creators to use decentralized apps to manage virtual goods and currencies, and to support their work and communities. Looking farther ahead, we’ll be exploring how ideas from crypto communities can help us push the boundaries of what’s possible with identity, community, ownership and more.”
Rinearson’s team will also be tasked with “shaping the future of decentralized social media.”
But Twitter’s crypto move has not exactly come out of nowhere. In fact, the latest announcement appears part of a coordinated and consistent attempt on the part of founder Jack Dorsey to create a core, crypto-focused business unit. Here is how Twitter got to where it is now:
- In 2019, Twitter boss Dorsey’s Square Crypto made its first crypto hire – the former Google product management expert Steve Lee.
- Rinearson spoke about “decentralized social media” – an idea Dorsey has been pursuing ever since December 2019, when he launched the Bluesky project.
- Bitcoin (BTC) buying has also become a company strategy – unsurprising considering how vocal Dorsey is about his belief in BTC. Last Year, Square bought USD 50m worth of the coin.
- February and July 2021 saw flurries of activity: first Dorsey and the rap megastar and entrepreneur Jay-Z announced they were stumping up BTC 500 to help fund BTC development.
- Then the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) revealed a plan to fund BTC development – with Dorsey among superstar investors putting forward an initial USD 4m.
- In July this year, Square confirmed it is trying to build a bitcoin hardware wallet in a bid “to make bitcoin custody more mainstream.”
- Also in July, Dorsey told investors that BTC would be a “big part” of the company’s future, explaining that he planned to integrate the cryptocurrency into existing Twitter products and services.
- And the same month also saw decentralized finance (DeFi) talk, with Dorsey claiming a new business team would “focus on building an open developer platform with the sole goal of making it easy to create non-custodial, permissionless and decentralized financial services.”
- In August, the Twitter boss found a Bluesky lead and bolstered its Square hardware wallet team.
- And last month, Twitter announced its tips function, which makes use of Strike-developed Lightning Network solutions – letting users give one another BTC “tips.”
“Twitter Crypto will undperpin all of this work, and serve as a ‘center of excellence’ for all things blockchain at Twitter.”
She also called on crypto experts looking to work with Twitter to come forward, writing: “We’ll be hiring for roles in engineering and product. If this sounds exciting, please get in touch!”