When Did Square Start Getting Involved with Bitcoin?
Square’s involvement with bitcoin isn’t new
Although Square’s (SQ) recent move to let users of its Square Cash app buy and sell bitcoin generated a lot of buzz and led to sharp movements in the stock as well as Wall Street upgrades and downgrades, the company has been involved with bitcoin for a few years.
Perhaps at this juncture it would be important to find out what came out of Square’s early relationship with bitcoin and what might be different in its latest involvement with the digital currency.
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Square Market allowed merchants to accept bitcoin
Square’s involvement with bitcoin goes back to 2014 when the company allowed vendors on its Square Market e-commerce site to accept bitcoin for payment from customers. It was a way for Square to ensure that sellers on its online marketplace would never miss a sale simply because a buyer preferred a different payment method.
On Square Market, Square allowed a shopper to pay with bitcoin and the seller to receive the payment in dollars (UUP). However, Square didn’t see much success with that early bitcoin adoption. The company’s chief executive Jack Dorsey later said, “Bitcoin: we tried this with our ecommerce store [Square Market] years back. Didn’t see much. Would love to see a digital currency thrive.”
Square hopes this time will be different
Speaking at the New York Times DealBook conference last month, Dorsey suggested that the timing of Square’s initial involvement with bitcoin may not have been favorable, and that this time the company could be more successful.
“A lot of our sellers at the time were selling things like incense and candles, and it turns out people in 2014 weren’t using bitcoin to buy incense and candles,” the Wall Street Journal quoted Dorsey as saying at the conference. It remains to be seen if the bitcoin move could help drive Square’s payment volume growth.
PayPal (PYPL) also experimented with bitcoin payment processing for its merchants, and like Square, the early response was low.