Block's chief legal officer Chrysty Esperanza told Silicon Republic that the fintech's business model is all about responding to customers' needs.

According to Chrysty Esperanza, chief legal officer at Block, fintech innovation is less about abolishing cash as a method of payment and more about finding alternative tech-enabled solutions to common payment problems.

For example, part of the “impetus” behind the founding of Block’s payments service Square was that co-founder Jim McKelvey wasn’t able to sell a piece of his art because he wasn’t able to accept cards.

“At Square, in particular, the philosophy has always been we want to empower our sellers to be able to accept payment in any way that their customers would like, whether that’s cash or card so that they never miss a sale,” Esperanza told Silicon Republic’s Ann O’Dea when the two sat down for a fireside chat about fintech innovation and the growth of Block and its various subsidiaries.

“I think cash continues to be an important part of how people pay,” said Esperanza. But events like the pandemic have definitely shown that sellers and customers need tech payment tools, too. “At Block, especially during the pandemic, we’re always looking for ways to make sure that we’re reading signals in the economy but also listening to the needs of our customers and of our sellers.”

That required Esperanza and her team to “sprint to be able to change that product roadmap” so they could respond to the unprecedented changes in the economy.


Words by Blathnaid O’Dea