Square SQ is planning to launch new financial services products based on bitcoin. Per CEO Jack Dorsey’s recent tweets, quoted by Bloomberg, the company is contemplating on building an open platform which will help developers “create non-custodial, permissionless and decentralized financial services.”
Dorsey, along with Tesla TSLA CEO Elon Musk, has been a frontrunner in endorsing bitcoin. Dorsey’s enthusiasm for bitcoin led Square to invest $50 million in October 2020, which represented 1% of the company’s total assets at that time. He, along with rapper Jay Z, also created a bitcoin development fund by investing 500 bitcoins.
Meanwhile, Tesla revealed its investments worth $1.5 billion into bitcoin in February. The EV giant also started accepting bitcoin as payment for its cars in March.
These developments helped bitcoin, the world’s biggest (in terms of market cap) and most popular digital coin, hit an all-time high of $64,829.14 on Apr 14.
However, since then, bitcoin has been on a downward spiral. Musk’s criticism of its huge power consumption for mining that prompted Tesla to reject it as a payment in May hurt its prospects. Ban in China, a more hawkish tone of the U.S. Federal Reserve, and negative commentary from U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also dragged down prices.
Bitcoin is currently down 51.7% from its all-time high. Its collapse also dragged down crypto-oriented stocks. Since Apr 14, Square, Marathon Digital MARA, Riot Blockchain RIOT, Coinbase and MicroStrategy are down 9%, 43%, 43.8%, 22.4% and 9.1%, respectively.
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Nevertheless, Dorsey continues to support bitcoin through various initiatives. Earlier this month, Square announced its plans to build a non-custodial bitcoin hardware wallet. Dorsey also plans to integrate the bitcoin wallet with Square’s Cash App.
Square’s Bitcoin Focus Aids Prospects
Square launched bitcoin trading in 2018 with Cash App, which allows buying and selling of the digital coin. Moreover, this Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) company formed Square Crypto in 2019 and launched Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance in 2020.
Momentum in bitcoin trading on the Cash App has been a major top-line growth driver for Square in recent times. In first-quarter 2021, bitcoin generated revenues of $3.5 billion and accounted for 69.4% of revenues
Square’s yet-to-be named bitcoin-focused business line will definitely increase the company’s exposure to vagaries of the cryptocurrency space. Nonetheless, increasing involvement of a fast-growing fintech company like Square is expected to help in stabilizing the bitcoin market and boost investor confidence.
Moreover, bitcoin is known to be a hedge against inflation, which is rising in the United States. Dip in bitcoin prices is expected to attract new investors, thereby driving trading revenues for Square’s Cash App.
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