Twitter Is Thinking Over Blockchain Technology, CEO Jack Dorsey Tells Congress

Sep 5, 2018 at 19:21 UTC
Updated Nov 6, 2018 at 21:15 UTC
NEWS

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told a congressional committee Wednesday that the social media company is exploring blockchain solutions for its platform.

Dorsey was responding to a question Democratic committee member Doris Matsui posed during an U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing that focused on user privacy protections, misinformation, content moderation and alleged bias against political conservatives on Twitter.

“You previously expressed interest in the broad applications of blockchain technology, including potentially in an effort to verify identity to fight misinformation and scams. What potential applications do you see for blockchain?” Matsui, the representative for California’s 6th congressional district, asked.

Dorsey replied:

“First and foremost we need to start with the problems that we’re trying to solve and the problems we’re solving for our customers and look at all available technology in order to understand if it could help us accelerate or make those outcomes much better. Blockchain is one that I think has a lot of untapped potential, specifically around distributed trust and distributed enforcement potentially.”

“We haven’t gone as deep as we’d like just yet in understanding how we might apply this technology to the problems we’re facing at Twitter, but we do have people within the company thinking about it today,” he continued.

That the company is examining possible fixes for double-checking user identities and policing content legitimacy to shore up digital trust is unsurprising, given recent events on the social media website and at Dorsey’s other company Square, where he is also CEO.

As reported by CoinDesk and other outlets, Twitter has been ground-zero for identity scams that have tricked users into sending their cryptocurrency holdings to fictitious, lookalike celebrity and influencer profiles. Researchers say the copycat accounts are massive botnets that may have likewise attempted to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In 2014, payment processor Square deployed Square Market, a merchant point-of-sale system that transacts in fiat and bitcoin. The Cash mobile wallet, another Square product, then tested bitcoin buying and selling in late 2017, rolling out complete access to all 50 U.S. states last month. Dorsey has said earlier this year that he hopes bitcoin will become the Web’s “native currency.”

Prior to asking the 41-year-old technology CEO twice-over about Twitter’s work with blockchain technology, Matsui also highlighted a pending piece of legislation that calls for the U.S. Department of Commerce to create a blockchain working group.

“As I previously announced in this committee, I am soon introducing legislation to direct the Department of Commerce to convene a working group of stakeholders to develop a consensus-based definition of blockchain,” she said.

Image via House of Representatives video