I’ve been pondering the Block lately, which is inconvenient timing given the internet’s current obsession with orbs, but appropriate because of all the six-sided material Square’s rebrand to Block has offered me.
That’s because while Jack Dorsey’s finance and blockchain company may not have changed its $SQ stock ticker, it has rolled out an entirely new visual treatment for its corporate website and Twitter account. As a rule, I try not to feel anything about corporate rebrands — I think we’re all above that — but something about the crystalline jelly, rainbow blurs, and Ace Hotel-level Tidal playlist of it all is hitting the spot right now. I’m not blockchain-pilled per say, but I am Block-pilled.
Just take a look at the Block website. You’re first greeted with an ever-rotating jelly cube (I refuse to call this a “block”). In contrast to the cubes that might already be in your life, like a pair of dice, or say a cardboard box, Block’s cube is already innovating by having a twist in the middle of it. Like someone took the blue raspberry Jello that you just set, and gave it a little spin. Maybe this communicates something about the flexibility of blockchain technology, but mostly I just like watching it twist over and over again.
The real fun comes when you click play on the embedded Tidal playlist in the top left corner. I think I can count the number of Tidal embeds I’ve seen on one hand, so I’m not sure this little black outline text version is standard, but it looks good. The playlist, called “Block Vibes,” is curated by none other than Jay-Z, yet another reminder of the bizarre (friendship?) the famed artist and businessman has with Dorsey. Square née Block also happens to own a majority stake in Tidal, Jay-Z’s pet music streaming service and the artist sits Block’s board. The Block website is keeping it in the family.
The vibes of Block Vibes? Very chill. It gives me hip hotel lobby, sipping some kind of cucumber-infused water, with someone talking in my ear about how the future is decentralized. There’s Haitus Kaiyote, MF DOOM, Khruangbin, and Sault in the mix, just to name a few. The jelly cube also starts rotating faster once the music’s playing over the rainbow blurs in the background. Call it the world’s most boring visualizer, but it works. And if you click the arrow in the bottom right, links pop up to the various businesses Block encompasses, Square, Cash App, Spiral, Tidal, and TBD54566975.
The cube aesthetic also extends to the investor relations page. There’s the normal boring stuff, press releases, earnings, etc., but then there’s the governance section. Complicating the “I’m in Miami doing something very non-fungible” vibes of the main Block rebrand, the leadership and board of directors pages skew more body horror. Have you ever wanted to see a former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury’s face stretched across a cube? Block is making that happen.
Is it cool? No. Is it funny? Yes, I certainly think so. Does it remind me of the bubble aliens from the hit Disney Channel Original Movie Stepsister from Planet Weird? Absolutely, thank you for saying that.
All in all, I think the Block website is a great place to hang out. Come for the cube, stay for the playlist, and some funny photos of finance types. I don’t have strong positive feelings for the blockchain or the metaverse (which will scam me first remains to be seen) but I will say Dorsey’s rebrand is far cooler than the one Mark Zuckerberg pulled with Facebook and Meta. Still sort of confounding and embarrassing, but at least there’s a cube that knows how to move.