Jack Dorsey’s Block Appoints MIT’s Neha Narula to Board of Directors

Block, Inc. (NYSE: SQ), a global technology company with a focus on financial services, announced on July 27, 2023, the appointment of Neha Narula, Director of the Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, to its Board of Directors. This move further solidifies Block’s commitment to leveraging open source software and open protocols to transform the way people move money.

Narula, who has been serving as the Director of the Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab since January 2017, brings a wealth of expertise in Bitcoin and open source technology to the board.

Prior to joining MIT, she held a position as a senior software engineer at Google. Narula also currently serves on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Innovation Advisory Council. Her academic credentials include a B.A. in Mathematics and Computer Science from Dartmouth College and a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT.

“I’ve long admired Block’s focus on building simple, cohesive products that empower people and communities to participate in the financial system,” said Narula. “We share core values around the power of open source software and the ability for open protocols to transform the way people move money. I’m honored and excited to join Block’s board of directors and contribute to the company’s purpose of economic empowerment.”

Block’s Head and Chairman, Jack Dorsey, expressed his enthusiasm about Narula’s appointment, stating, “Neha’s expertise in Bitcoin and open source technology is a great addition to our Board. Neha’s passion for building intuitive, scaled systems to move money across the Internet efficiently fits into our company’s purpose, and we’re excited to have her join our team.”

Block, Inc., formerly known as Square, Inc., is composed of Square, Cash App, Spiral, TIDAL, and TBD. The company is dedicated to creating tools that expand access to the economy. Its integrated ecosystem of commerce solutions, business software, and banking services helps sellers run and grow their businesses.

With Cash App, anyone can easily send, spend, or invest their money in stocks or Bitcoin. Spiral builds and funds free, open-source Bitcoin projects, while TIDAL provides a platform for musicians and their fans to connect more deeply. TBD is building an open developer platform to make it easier to access Bitcoin and other blockchain technologies without having to go through an institution.

Narula’s appointment to the board is expected to further enhance Block’s mission of economic empowerment through the use of open source software and open protocols.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / / / / / / /

Crypto Firms Join Forces to Push for Stratum V2 Bitcoin Mining Upgrades

A group of crypto firms led by Bitcoin mining tech provider Braiins and the Block Inc’s subsidiary funding Bitcoin development called Spiral are promoting the adoption of Stratum V2 protocol.

The initiative sets to upgrade Stratum V1 (the current Bitcoin mining pool protocol) miners use to control how mining machines communicate with pool servers.

The upgrade from Stratum V1 would improve security for miners and for the network, help further decentralize the network, and make communication more efficient, a joint statement from Braiins and Spiral said.

Stratum’s second version (V2) promises to bring many improvements to the protocol, including censorship resistance and allowing miners to choose their own work rather than being assigned workloads by pools, as a result, would increase the Bitcoin network’s decentralization. The upgrade is a necessary step to support an increase in pooled mining and further growth in hashrate, the report elaborated.

The working group now focuses on building and sharing tools for all mining firms to rapidly and seamlessly upgrade to Stratum V2 protocol.

As per the announcement, the working group has released the first version of an open-source Stratum V2 reference implementation (SRI) for testing. The SRI will allow anyone to run the upgraded protocol or use it as a guide for their own implementation of Stratum V2, the report said.

The joint statement said that the working group plans to release a new “more robust” version of the SRI with more functionality in early November.

Crypto exchange BitMEX, crypto financial services firm Galaxy Digital, crypto mining and staking firm Foundry, and Bitcoin education program Summer of Bitcoin, are among the members of the working group who are giving support to Stratum V2’s key developers. Spiral and Braiins invited interested parties to participate in the group in their joint report released yesterday.

Miners “know the benefits of Stratum V2 very well,” but pushing the mining industry over the “remaining development and adoption hurdles” is a “big task,” Braiins co-founder Jan Capek said in the report.

The push for the Stratum V2 protocol comes at a time when mining difficulty has increased by 13.55 % to an all-time high. Blockchain.News reported the matter. As the individual activity becomes more difficult and competitive over time, Bitcoin mining has shifted to a pooled resource model that significantly reduces the volatility of payouts. Miners join pools, paying a service fee to the pool and obtaining a consistent share of block reward payouts relative to their hash provided.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / / / / /

Jack Dorsey’s Spiral demos Bitcoin Lightning Development Kit

The crypto arm of the recently rebranded Square (now Block) has demonstrated its Lightning Development Kit (LDK) as it aims to turbocharge the Bitcoin network. 

The team from Jack Dorsey’s Spiral published a video on Dec. 7 showcasing the capabilities of Bitcoin Lightning and the Lightning Development Kit (LDK).

LDK has been designed to allow developers to seamlessly plug their applications into the network on mobile devices and Point of Sale terminals. 

LDK supports native APIs using Rust, C, Swift, Java, and Kotlin coding languages. This lets developers customize their wallet app for their users in the language of their choice while also removing the necessity for separate Bitcoin and LN wallets.

In the video, Twitter’s former CEO described the LDK as a program that “makes it easy for any developer in the world to build a wallet.”

The video features a puppet Jack Dorsey interacting with store clerks and owners by paying for services with Lightning Network (LN). He uses his mobile LN wallet app to pay for a nose piercing and a movie ticket while the video periodically cuts to the Spiral team talking about the merits of Bitcoin and the LN.

Spiral, previously known as Square Crypto, has been developing Bitcoin wallet solutions since it was founded in 2019. In addition to the LDK, Spiral is working on the Bitcoin Development Kit which allows cross-platform mobile wallet interactions. 

Lightning is a layer two scaling solution for Bitcoin which Spiral project manager Haley Berkoe says “turns Bitcoin into an actual payment system.”

Conor Okus from Spiral expects its LDK to increase the adoption of Bitcoin and the LN by “providing a way for people in different parts of the world … to store value and engage in economic activity.”

Related: Congressional candidate seeking to unseat anti-crypto Brad Sherman is accepting contributions via Lightning

The product release comes at a fortuitous time for Lightning users as network nodes are at all-time highs. The last reading from Bitcoin Visuals shows that there are 18,905 nodes with active channels on the Lightning Network.

Over the last 3 months, the total number of nodes has grown by 23% with 3,534 new nodes being added. The LN currently has a network capacity of 3,285 BTC, or around $166 million according to 1ML.