A few months ago we wrote that Square’s peer-to-peer payment app called Square Cash was running a bitcoin trial for select users. These users had the ability to buy and sell bitcoin using whatever payment method they had attached to the app.
Well now the payments company just announced that all users (except those in New York, Georgia, Hawaii, or Wyoming) have access to bitcoin trading in their app. Users can buy up to $10,000 worth of bitcoin a week as well as deposit it from other addresses. The app isn’t adding a fee to purchases, but the sale price will be a mid-market price averaged from different exchanges, and include a spread.
Your bitcoin are held by Square, meaning they are tied to your account and not device. While this isn’t necessarily the best for security it’s definitely better for the average user who can forget their password or lose their phone and still be able to recover their coins
The company also created an interactive website/storybook that explains bitcoin to the average person.
The release comes as popular free stock trading app Robinhood just announced they’ll soon add free cryptocurrency trading for all users. The company already has over 1M people on its waitlist, which shows how strong the demand is for more cryptocurrency trading platforms. Of course many use Coinbase, but as one of the only legitimate options to buy and sell bitcoin the startup has suffered from tremendous growing pains and downtime during times of extreme traffic, especially when it comes to customer service.
The release also comes at a time where cryptocurrency markets are in the midst of a correction with some currencies like Bitcoin trading at nearly half of their month-ago highs. Additionally many are starting to wonder if regulatory scrutiny is about to cause the “ICO bubble” to pop, with many offerings being canceled and converted to private sales.
Regardless of what happens to the price of cryptocurrencies in the short term, the rollout of Square Cash’s bitcoin features and upcoming launch of Robinhood’s crypto product should bring some much-needed competition and growth to the sector.
In a statement given to TechCrunch the company said:
“Cash App empowers people with access to the financial system, and our customers have shown interest in a simple, approachable way to buy and sell Bitcoin. Through our pilot, we’ve learned a great deal about how we can make this experience faster and easier and we’re excited to expand its availability.” – Square Spokesperson