Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey has teamed up with rapper and Tidal chief Jay-Z on a new endowment to fund Bitcoin development starting in Africa and India, Dorsey tweeted. They’re launching the project, called ₿trust, with an injection of 500 Bitcoin currently valued at $23.6 million. It will be set up as a blind irrevocable trust, so neither Dorsey nor Jay-Z can give any direction on how it’s run. Dorsey didn’t provide any more details, other than linking a ₿trust board member application.
JAY-Z/@S_C_ and I are giving 500 BTC to a new endowment named ₿trust to fund #Bitcoin development, initially focused on teams in Africa & India. It‘ll be set up as a blind irrevocable trust, taking zero direction from us. We need 3 board members to start: https://t.co/L4mRBryMJe— jack (@jack) February 12, 2021
The announcement comes at an odd time, because India just announced that it will completely ban cryptocurrencies after giving investors a transition period to divest their holdings. At the same time, the announcement comes when bitcoin is at an all-time high of $47,450 for a single Bitcoin, up $17,000 or so from just a couple of weeks ago.
While India might be planning to ban Bitcoin, the corporate world is starting to embrace it. Mastercard became the latest payment company to support cryptocurrencies, joining Dorsey’s Square and even traditional banks. Telsa announced last week that it would accept Bitcoin in payment for its EVs, after buying up $1.5 billion in the cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrencies are booming in African countries like Nigeria, as TechCrunch noted. They can provide a hedge against currency devaluation and even act as a reserve currency, an idea Kenya has said it would adopt. However, as the massive fluctuations of late have shown, it’s still risky to use it to pay for goods, services or employees — so it still can’t replace traditional currency for most folks.