Lightning Labs, Square Creators Push Bitcoin As A Universal Currency


Elizabeth Stark and Jack Dorsey closed out Consensus 2018 by sharing a broad vision of bitcoin’s future but keeping it light on details.

Since its first summit in 2015, the sessions at Consensus have shed light on a variety of blockchain use cases, but one goal is continually reasserted: the creation of a borderless currency, accessible by all.

Two key players wrapped up the third and final day of Consensus 2018 by saying they are dedicated to advancing bitcoin as a global form of payment: Elizabeth Stark, CEO and co-founder of Lightning Labs, and Jack Dorsey, CEO and founder of Square. 

“We believe this technology can have such a monumental impact on our world, that we have to make it happen … we have to give people more of a chance to participate in our economy,” said Dorsey. The two sat down for a fireside chat to discuss the future of bitcoin in regard to its ease of use.

Dorsey founded Square to solve a critical problem for his friend, who was selling handmade glass art and could not accept credit card payments. Rather than following a traditional path of credit card processing, Square’s mission became to enable entrepreneurs and individuals to send and receive money easily and instantly. Its services include buying, selling, and paying in bitcoin; the process is meant to be seamless, without recipients knowing when payments are even made in bitcoin. 

Dorsey went on to say:

“The internet needs its own native, global currency. I don’t know if it will be bitcoin, but I hope it will be.” 

Dorsey and Stark have been working together on improving the speed of bitcoin transactions. The Lightning Network, developed by Lightning Labs, allows individuals to transact with each other off-chain for a period of time, and settle their final balances on the blockchain when they close their payment channels (like when you settle a tab at a bar, rather than paying after every drink). This prevents congestion on the bitcoin blockchain and allows for much faster transactions.

When asked about her opinion on cryptocurrency’s future, Stark responded that she is “really seeing the value of having the ability to transact easily without central bodies.” The two leaders shared their vision for helping to financially connect individuals and provide them with the ability to transact with anyone in the world quickly, simply, and affordably.

It’s important to note, however, that Square currently does not accept bitcoin as a form of payment for its products. 

Roni Rose is the founder of Blockchain Bea, a podcast that teaches non-technical people about the basics of cryptocurrency and blockchain tech in a fun and casual way, as well as introduces them to ventures using blockchain to make a positive impact.

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