Jack Dorsey and Jay Z invest $23.6 million to fund Bitcoin development

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Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey and rapper Jay Z have created an endowment to fund bitcoin development initially in Africa and India, Dorsey said Friday.

The duo is putting 500 Bitcoin, which is currently worth $23.6 million, in the endowment called ₿trust. The fund will be set up as a blind irrevocable trust, Dorsey said, adding that the duo won’t be giving any direction to the team.

₿trust is looking to hire three board members. The mission of the fund is to “make bitcoin the internet’s currency,” a job application describes.

Governments in both Africa and India have so far been reluctant to embrace bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Friday’s move comes as New Delhi is inching closer to introduce a law that would ban private cryptocurrencies in the nation.

Dorsey has long supported the adoption of cryptocurrency. Square already supports Bitcoin and last year acquired about $50 million worth of bitcoin for its corporate treasury, and Twitter is studying the potential use of Bitcoin to pay its employees and vendors.

In an interview with CNBC earlier this week, Twitter Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal said, “We’ve done a lot of the upfront thinking to consider how we might pay employees should they ask to be paid in bitcoin, how we might pay a vendor if they ask to be [paid] in bitcoin and whether we need to have bitcoin on our balance sheet should that happen. It’s something we continue to study and look at, we want to be thoughtful about over time, but we haven’t made any changes yet.”

Many high-profile industry executives have called for nations to embrace Bitcoin. Balaji Srinivasan, an angel investor and entrepreneur who previously served as the Chief Technology Officer of Coinbase, earlier this month made a case for why India should embrace bitcoin.

“India has the talent to pull this off. Such a move would make international headlines, attract global support from the world’s technologists and financiers, differentiate India from the increasingly zero-sum economic policies pushed by America and China, and put the country at the forefront of a trillion dollar industry,” he wrote, envisioning the potential unblocking bitcoin would create for India.

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