What’s Square Making from Its Bitcoin Business?


Jan. 28 2019, Updated 7:31 a.m. ET

Bitcoin service rolled out countrywide

Square (SQ) is gearing up to report its results for the fourth quarter of 2018 on February 26. This will be the company’s first full-quarter report since it rolled out its Bitcoin trading service nationwide in the United States.

Square launched its Bitcoin trading service toward the end of 2017, but its availability was limited to a handful of states in the United States. It wasn’t until August last year that the service became available countrywide, expanding Square’s addressable market.

In the third quarter of 2018, its most recently reported period, Square generated $43 million in revenue from its Bitcoin trading service. Its revenue rose from $37 million in the second quarter and $34 million in the first quarter.

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Small but profitable operation

With Square generating $882 million in companywide revenue in the third quarter, the Bitcoin trading service is currently a small piece of its business. But the business is already turning a profit. Square made nearly $600,000 in profit from its Bitcoin operations in the third quarter.

Since its rivals such as PayPal (PYPL) and Amazon (AMZN) don’t run Bitcoin trading businesses, Square has less competition in the space.

Facebook and Google lift crypto advertising ban

Square launched its Bitcoin trading service around the time Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOGL) were banning cryptocurrency advertising on their platforms, limiting its digital advertising opportunities. But Facebook and Google have restored cryptocurrency advertising to their platforms after figuring out how to shield users from fraudulent crypto-related deals.


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