(Bloomberg) -- Block Inc. is offering a new hardware Bitcoin wallet as crypto advocate Jack Dorsey focuses the payments company formerly known as Square more on security and self-governance for the digital-asset sector.
Called Bitkey, the wallet allows users to self-custody the cryptocurrency on a hexagon-shaped hardware device. While similar products have been available for a while, the majority of crypto assets are still held on trading platforms.
Dorsey unveiled the San Francisco-based company’s efforts to develop the new hardware wallet and a Bitcoin mining system in 2021, with the goal of decentralizing the Bitcoin network and making both safe storage and mining of the digital asset more accessible.
Users of the wallet can connect with crypto exchanges and payment services including Block’s Cash App, allowing them to transfer the digital asset between platforms.
“We have already started working with Cash App from day one and we are looking for other synergies as well,” said Block’s Thomas Templeton, who leads the Proto team which develops Bitcoin hardware in the company.
Bitcoin mining is an energy-intensive process in which miners use specialized computers to validate transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain in return for rewards in the form of the coin. Most of such operations have been set up and run by public companies or deep-pocketed private investors.
While making Bitcoin mining more decentralized and available, Block aims to provide more access to easy and safe storage for retail users.
“When you look at the Bitcoin space, there are tools and products that are built for super users or a subset of people deep in the industry but there is not a product for regular folks dipping their toes in the space,” Templeton said in an interview.
Shares of Block were little changed at about $68 on Thursday. The stock has increased about 8.5% this year. Bitcoin has jumped more than 160% in 2023.
--With assistance from Sidhartha Shukla.
(Adds the company’s share price in the final paragraph.)
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