Twitter Looks at Blockchain in Bid to Fight Scams
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 from California Representative Doris Matsui during a House 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 asked. Dorsey – who said earlier this year that he hopes that bitcoin will become the Web's "native currency" – replied "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 went on to say. That the company is looking at possible solutions for shoring up digital trust is perhaps unsurprising, given recent events. As reported by CoinDesk and other outlets, Twitter has been ground-zero for identity scams that seek to defraud users out of their cryptocurrency holdings. Through the use of copycat accounts and what researchers say are massive botnets, would-be scammers have tricked users into sending their coins to fictitious celebrity and influencer profiles. Payment processor Square, where Dorsey is also CEO, has shown significant interest in blockchain technology. In 2014, Square Market integrated bitcoin into the company's merchant point-of-sale systems. The Cash mobile app, another Square product, then began testing bitcoin buying and selling in late 2017, rolling out access to all 50 U.S. states last month. During the hearing, Matsui also highlighted a pending piece of legislation that calls for the 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 prior to asking Dorsey about Twitter's work with the technology.