Jack Dorsey, who basically built Twitter from the ground up in its initial incarnation, isn’t on board with the social media site anymore, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been keeping busy. Recent evidence suggests that he’s responsible for a new iPhone payment system that could revolutionize the way we buy stuff.
By way of a new iPhone app and an accompanying hardware dongle that appears to operate via the phone’s headphone jack, the Square iPhone Payment system allows users to take on-the-spot credit card payments of any amount, at any time, so long as the phone has a valid network connection.
Square has previously been blogged about in the tech community, but Jack Dorsey’s involvement wasn’t revealed until Engadget spotted the domain name “squareup.com” on a receipt, and followed the breadcrumb trail via a WHOIS profile that revealed the domain is registered to someone with the contact email firstname.lastname@example.org. Squirrel is the codename for Dorsey’s super secret follow up project that he’s tweeted about in the past. It’s not difficult to connect the dots from there.
The system definitely has lots of promise. It could mean that anyone with an iPhone could accept credit card payments quickly and easily, without a lot of expensive intermediary steps. It may not be the social media wildfire that Twitter was, but it could generate the same kind of excitement in the retail community, especially among small business communities. Theoretically, even people selling services and goods via Craigslist or Kijiji could accept credit card transactions using Squirrel/Square.
No information yet on when the software/hardware combo will be available for wide release, but the alpha testing was reported as being underway in August.