Square changes name to Shorty in apparent sign of cryptocurrency ambitions

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Dorsey said “communication companies at scale” can help users save time

The name Square has been changed in the US to Shorty, possibly signalling CEO Jack Dorsey’s ambitions for the crypto-currency.

Dorsey is behind tech startup Twitter, which allows users to share 140-character text updates.

He previously tried to sell an online marketplace in 2014 called Twitter twice – this led to its name being changed and the market closing.

Twitter does not yet have a cryptocurrency so Shorty may not actually be the company’s first attempt at one.

The upmarket young media brand behind the original name – the beloved short form of ‘lol’ – has usually aimed to unite online conversations and celebrate individuality.

But Shorty appears to aim to combine the two goals. In a press release issued in the company’s code name, the company said “communication companies at scale” could help users “manage, protect and manage their personal information”.

This is possibly a reference to Dorsey’s plans to build a digital identity system for social networks, a system he will surely want to build into some of his latest ventures.

But it may also signify the opportunity that could arise from an endless supply of cash generated by blockchain, the underlying technology that underpins cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

‘A lot of work’

Last week, Square completed a $100m (£74m) funding round led by Japanese firm SoftBank.

The news was a huge boost for its growing venture fund, which has so far invested $2.9bn in early-stage companies such as payments firm Stripe and messaging service Slack.

Jack Dorsey said at the time he was working to “maximise” value from its investments.

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