Payment processor Square announced this week that it is changing its corporate name to Block effective Dec 10th. The rebranding announcement comes on the heels of CEO Jack Dorsey’s recent decision to step down from his other CEO role at Twitter. Rebranding, especially in fintech, has become a way for growing companies to form an identity that reaches beyond their launch product. Square was founded in 2009 and named for its initial product: a square-shaped dongle that plugged into the audio jack of a cellular phone, turning it into a mobile payments terminal for small businesses. Backed by an investment from Visa, Square was the original proof of concept for what is now known as the payment facilitator, or PayFac merchant services model. Square enabled millions of small businesses to quickly and easily enroll to accept credit and debit cards without a traditional merchant account burdened by minimum fees and expensive equipment.
In addition to the Square merchant services platform, Block also includes the peer-to-peer (P2P) payment service Cash App, the music streaming service Tidal, and Square Crypto, soon to be rebranded as Spiral. CEO Jack Dorsey commented:
“We built the Square brand for our Seller business, which is where it belongs. Block is a new name, but our purpose of economic empowerment remains the same. No matter how we grow or change, we will continue to build tools to help increase access to the economy.”
Worth noting is that a block is a 3D representation of a square, a good choice for a company wanting to show investors that it has grown beyond the initial product that it was named for. According to a press release from Block, “The name has many associated meanings for the company. Building blocks, neighborhood blocks and their local businesses, communities coming together at block parties full of music, a blockchain, a section of code, and obstacles to overcome.”
Overview by Don Apgar, Director, Merchant Services Advisory Practice at Mercator Advisory Group