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Twitter CEO partners with Jay-Z on $23M bitcoin development fund

Twitter CEO partners with Jay-Z on $23M bitcoin development fund


Investing millions to build teams in Africa and India

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Photo illustration by Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and musician Jay-Z have pledged 500 bitcoin (around $23.3 million) toward ₿trust, an endowment to fund bitcoin development, Dorsey announced on Twitter today. The CEO said development will initially be focused on teams in Africa and India, but that he and Jay-Z plan to give “zero direction” to the plans. ₿trust is currently looking for three board members, with an application form noting its mission is to “make bitcoin the internet’s currency.”

Africa and India are two interesting markets in which to focus bitcoin development. As TechCrunch notes, cryptocurrencies have grown increasingly popular throughout the African continent for making cross-border transactions cheaper, and in some cases being resistant to government control. Nigeria is reportedly second only to the US in terms of the amount of bitcoin traded in the country in the last five years. 

Meanwhile, the Indian government is currently looking to ban private cryptocurrencies in the country, Bloomberg reports, while also investigating the creation of an official digital currency. TechCrunch notes that cryptocurrency development in the country has been slow, despite its strengths in software development.

Dorsey has been a longtime supporter of cryptocurrency, and this has been reflected in the actions of his companies. His payments platform company Square has accepted bitcoin as a form of payment since 2014 and announced it had purchased $50 million in bitcoin last year as an investment in cryptocurrency.

At the time, Square said it believed bitcoin could be the currency of the future and that cryptocurrency is an “instrument of economic empowerment.” Earlier this week, Twitter’s chief financial officer said the company was looking into how it might pay its employees or vendors in bitcoin in the future. 

₿trust is the second major bitcoin investment announced this week. On Monday, Tesla said it had invested $1.5 billion in the cryptocurrency and was hoping to take it as a payment method in the near future.