Square Opens Up to Bitcoin Buyers, Sellers
Lately, bitcoin has been on an upward tear that rivals anything that’s ever been seen, even those early massive gains that drove bitcoin from a pile for two pizzas to a staggering four-figures-per. One recent development fueled some new gains, as Square, one of the early leaders in mobile payments, announced that it would be letting some users buy and sell bitcoin.
It wasn’t just bitcoin that gained from this, though; Square’s stock managed to reach a new record high on the strength of that word. While it didn’t hold that high for long, it still ultimately managed gains in the first trading day following the announcement. Bitcoin, meanwhile, is currently at $7,450 as of this writing.
Square added the bitcoin transaction system to its Cash tool, which serves as a way to try and get in on Venmo’s market. Users reportedly really wanted the system in, and Square is actively working on ways to make it “faster and easier” to work with. As such, apparently only a handful of users are in on this right now.
The move will effectively allow Square to compete with several major cryptocurrency exchanges, including names like Gemini and Coinbase. In fact, word out of Credit Suisse suggests that this move could give Square a real leg up in the field. Analysts Mrinalini Bhutoria and Paul Condra noted that there were some risks—cryptocurrency bans and some liquidity risks among them—but should cryptocurrencies go mainstream, it would be a major boost to Square.
One of the biggest challenges facing cryptocurrency users today is the sheer difficulty involved in actually getting these. Some cryptocurrencies can actually only be purchased with other cryptocurrencies; those interested in buying Nexus, for example, first need to buy bitcoin and then use bitcoin to buy Nexus. That’s unnecessarily cumbersome; why not open it up to straight dollar purchases, or whatever fiat of choice you’re using? Regulations are likely playing a role in this needless complexity, so a system like Square’s could be a real winner going forward.
Improving the ease of accessing cryptocurrency should open up the mainstream potential of such operations, and make these unusual new systems potentially very valuable as investment properties or as a simple way to buy and sell online.