“Now anyone can buy $42 or even $1 worth of Berkshire Hathaway A ($BRK.A, or $TSLA or $SFIX or…) instantly and for free right in @CashApp. Really proud of the team for making buying stocks and building wealth accessible to more people. Rolling out now! @WarrenBuffett!”
As CashApp’s Twitter handle indicated the same day, app users will soon be able to own a piece of hundreds of different stocks — rather than an entire share.
This, as Dorsey tweeted, includes the most expensive stock on the market — Berkshire Hathaway Class A — which regularly trades above $300,000 per share.
The irony of Square — which saw its own stock jump $1 billion within 5 days when it first announced its BTC trading option back in 2017 — promoting its new investing product with the example of Berkshire Hathaway shares will not go unnoticed in the crypto community.
Berkshire CEO’s billionaire chairman Warren Buffett is notorious for his by-now ritual opprobrium toward Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
In addition to share fractions, Dorsey also reiterated that users, who aren’t into stocks, can buy fractions of Bitcoin (BTC) using the same interface.
He used the hashtag #Stacksats to refer to one Satoshi; the name (after Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakomoto) given to the smallest, indivisible unit of the cryptocurrency — one hundred millionth of one Bitcoin.
Earlier this year, during an earnings call devoted to Square’s Q2 2019 results, Dorsey recognized the eye-popping impact that introducing Bitcoin support had on the company’s Cash App revenue.
At the time, Square’s latest shareholder letter had revealed that Cash App had raised $135 million in subscription, services and transaction-based revenue — and that separately, Bitcoin revenue alone accounted for $125 million.
“We love you Bitcoin,” Dorsey said.
In his own annual shareholders’ meeting back in 2018, Warren Buffett, for his part, memorably characterized Bitcoin as being “probably rat poison squared.”
Square Crypto announced on Twitter that they have hired Matt Corallo, Bitcoin software developer and co-founder of Blockstream.
Square Crypto, the cryptocurrency-focused branch of mobile payment company Square, has hired Blockstream co-founder and Bitcoin (BTC) developer Matt Corallo. Square Crypto announced the news in an official Twitter post on Aug. 20.
Matt Corallo also commented on the announcement, saying:
“So excited to be joining the @sqcrypto team over the coming weeks. Experimenting with different models to accelerate Bitcoin OSS is awesome!”
As indicated in his Twitter post, Corallo is a Bitcoin Open Source Developer who previously worked at Bitcoin development company Chaincode Labs. Per his LinkedIn profile, Corallo has worked there for the past two years and 8 months. Additionally, Corallo is listed as the co-founder of Blockstream, a blockchain and Bitcoin development company where he worked for just under two and a half years.
Square Crypto’s teambuilding
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who also founded Square, is looking to build a small team dedicated to improving crypto infrastructure. The team will reportedly include one designer and a handful of software engineers, and all of their projects will be open source. Square Crypto’s first hire was Steve Lee, who previously served as a director at Google.
Square aims to develop Bitcoin infrastructure
In a recent Twitter “ask me anything,” project manager at Square Crypto Steve Lee emphasized that his team is particularly keen on developing support for the Bitcoin ecosystem. Lee wrote:
“We are very, very pro-Bitcoin. There is more than enough work for us to do there. That said, we are open to emerging use cases and technologies that complement Bitcoin.”
Square generated $125 million in Bitcoin revenue in Q2 2019 through Cash App, double what it made during the previous quarter.
Payments company Square has generated $125 million in Bitcoin (BTC) revenue in the second quarter of 2019 through its mobile payments service Cash App.
Square released the information in the company’s Q2 2019 shareholder letter on August 1. According to the letter, the company’s Bitcoin revenue benefited in part from the number one cryptocurrency’s price rally over the quarter. As a result of this price growth, there was also a correspondingly increased volume of Bitcoin, they say. This resulted in a $2 million gross profit for the company.
Cash App obtained $135 million in subscription-, services- and transaction-based revenue. This means that Bitcoin revenue granted the company over 92% of the quantity that Square obtained through subscription, services and transaction revenue alone.
In Square’s Q1 2019 report in May, the company revealed that it achieved a new revenue high from Bitcoin sales via Cash App, with a stated Bitcoin revenue of $65.5 million. This means Square has more than doubled its Bitcoin revenue compared to the preceding quarter.
Square: a company bullish on Bitcoin
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Steve Lee, a project manager at Square’s crypto branch — Square Crypto — heavily emphasized the company’s belief in Bitcoin in an ask me anything session on Twitter. Lee wrote that the company was “very, very pro-Bitcoin.”
Square also recently released a Bitcoin deposits feature on Cash App in late June. This reportedly enables Bitcoin users to deposit their assets from external wallets into Square’s payments application. However, the announcement cautioned that there would be some limitations — a cap of $10,000 in Bitcoin per seven days, and a wait of up to several hours to confirm the deposits via blockchain.
Steve Lee highlighted Square Crypto’s emphasis on Bitcoin in a recent community AMA on Twitter.
Steve Lee, a project manager at Square Crypto — the crypto arm of the payments company Square — made a number of recent remarks that solidify the company’s emphasis on Bitcoin (BTC). Lee commented to this effect in the course of an “ask me anything” (AMA) session via Twitter on July 29.
Jack Dorsey had previously discussed how Square Crypto aims to develop the crypto ecosystem in general, and is taking steps to improve infrastructure for all — not just Square.
However, the recent AMA indicates that Bitcoin is playing a main role in their current developments. Early on in the AMA, Lee described Square Crypto as “an open-source initiative designed to strengthen the bitcoin ecosystem.” He also wrote:
“Our goal is Bitcoin for all. We are focusing on improving the Bitcoin experience for mainstream users. The user journey will always be central to our thinking.”
Square Crypto or Square Bitcoin?
Over the course of the AMA, one user even asked Lee why the group called themselves “Square Crypto” instead of “Square Bitcoin.” Lee simply responded by linking to an earlier tweet in the AMA, in which he said:
“We are very, very pro-Bitcoin. There is more than enough work for us to do there. That said, we are open to emerging use cases and technologies that complement Bitcoin.”
The response leaves open the possibility of developing Bitcoin-adjacent infrastructure within the crypto space at large, but still highlights the original cryptocurrency as the nascent team’s main priority.
Square stock up with Bitcoin rally
Square stock is also on a roll this year as crypto markets recovered from last year’s “crypto winter.” As Cointelegraph reported last week, Square stock is up over 50% in 2019, while Bitcoin’s price has soared over 150% since Jan. 1.
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Square unveiled Bitcoin deposits for its Cash App at the end of June. This service allows Bitcoin to be deposited from external wallets, with a cap of $10,000 worth of Bitcoin every seven days.
A new deposit functionality has been rolled out following news of a Bakkt payment app and Coinbase Card’s expansion into six European nations…
Once seen by the mainstream zeitgeist as a fringe technology destined to languish on the outskirts of society, cryptocurrency today is alluring many leaders of the fintech sector by offering companies the prospect of being at the forefront of the largest financial revolution of the past century.
With mainstream society increasingly accepting Bitcoin (BTC) as a means of payment, financial firms are increasingly seeking to offer a frictionless and convenient means for consumers to make payments using crypto.
Square introduces BTC deposits
On June 26, San Francisco-based mobile payments provider Squareannounced that users of the company’s Cash App can now receive bitcoin from external wallets. However, Cash App users are restricted from receiving more than $10,000 worth of BTC deposits within a seven day period.
While most Cash App users have been able to purchase or sell Bitcoin since February 2018, a functionality facilitating payments between friends and family has been notably absent, given that such has long-comprised a major value proposition underpinning the app’s fiat utility.
News of the deposit functionality was a poorly kept secret, with crypto Twitter pundit Dennis Parker announcing that Cash App had enabled BTC deposits on June 25, a week following a similar tweet from Marty Bent that also claimed the function was live. Thus, the competition for the crypto payments sector is beginning to heat up.
Platforms compete to corner crypto payments
The integration of deposit functionality reasserts Square as a major contender among the companies seeking to lead the burgeoning crypto payments sector. Revolut, a United Kingdom-based fintech startup, is offering a platform featuring payment processing services, commission-free stock brokerage and foreign currency exchange — and it announced that it had introduced cryptocurrency exchange services to its platform in December 2017. However, users are only able to transfer cryptocurrencies within the Revolut network and cannot receive deposits from external wallets.
On June 20, The Block reported that Bakkt had hired a former Google payments product strategist, Christ Petersen, to assist the company in rolling out an upcoming mobile digital asset wallet application. The app, dubbed Bakkt Pay by anonymous sources, is expected to launch by the end of 2019.
On June 11, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency payments firm, TenX, celebrated its fourth birthday by announcing it had become the first company funded through an initial coin offering (ICO) to receive an e-money license. The license was issued by the Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority, allowing the company to provide “electronic money institution” services across the European Economic Area (EEA). TenX plans to launch its prepaid Visa cards across the EEA during the fourth quarter of 2019.
Square seeks to expand presence in crypto sector
Square first announced that it was “exploring” allowing Cash App users to purchase or sell BTC during November 2017 in response to customer demand. The announcement followed a trial of the functionality among select users, with a spokesperson stating:
“We’re always listening to our customers and we’ve found that they are interested in using the Cash App to buy Bitcoin. We’re exploring how Square can make this experience faster and easier, and have rolled out this feature to a small number of Cash App customers.”
During March of this year, Jack Dorsey, the founder of Square and Twitter, revealed that Square was seeking to hire several full-time cryptocurrency engineers and a single designer to work on open-source contributions to the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency as part of an initiative called Square Crypto. Recruits would report directly under Dorsey, with the option to receive remuneration in the form of BTC also available.
In an interview with The Next Web published on June 14, Dorsey discussed the progress of the Square Crypto venture, indicating that regulatory challenges were forcing the company to move slowly in its endeavors pertaining to cryptocurrency.
“An Internet company can launch something and it’s available around the world. Whereas with payments, you have to go to each market and pay attention to regulators. You need a partnership with a local bank. This is a very slow process in any new market.”
Coinbase expands payment operations
On June 11, Coinbaseannounced that its Visa debit card had been made available to citizens from in Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands. The announcement also indicated that the company expects to make the Coinbase Card available to more jurisdictions in the coming months.
The Coinbase Card was launched in the U.K. during April 2019. The card’s app makes payments from the balance of a user’s Coinbase account, with Coinbase instantly converting the chosen cryptocurrency into fiat currency upon execution of the payment. Transactions incur a fee of 2.49% within European countries, however, using the card outside of Europe currently draws a 5.49% fee. U.K.-based payment processor PaySafe is the issuer of Coinbase’s cards.
According to unverifiable reports from May, Coinbase had entered into “advanced talks” to purchase pioneering cryptocurrency custody provider Xapo for approximately $50 million plus an earn-out. Xapo is estimated to hold more than $5.5 billion in assets under custody, with the company also offering an app that allows users to send BTC and fiat currencies to other Xapo users without incurring fees as well as facilitates payments to banks accounts in more than 30 countries. The report noted that Fidelity Digital Assets had also shown strong interest in purchasing Xapo.
Circle to sunset payment platform
On June 13, Circle announced that it will start winding down support for the company’s payment app during July, after five years of operations. At the time of the announcement, Circle Pay supported fee-free payments denominated in U.S. dollars, British pounds and euros, and was available to customers from the U.S., the U.K. and 27 other European countries.
The company attributed the decision to sunset the app to the emergence of stablecoins such as Circle’s USD Coin (USDC), describing fiat tokens as superior means of frictionlessly transferring fiat value between entities. By contrast, the company stated that Circle Pay “largely relied on interfacing with the traditional financial system and untokenized fiat currencies.”
The announcement was published one month after Circle laid off 30 staff members, who then comprised 10% of its entire workforce. Circle’s CEO, Jeremy Allaire, attributed the downsizing to a response to market conditions and regulatory hurdles in the U.S.
Paxful partners with BitMart
In February 2019, peer-to-peer (P2P) Bitcoin marketplace Paxful announced a joint venture that saw Paxful integrated as a means of facilitating BTC payments on the global digital asset trading platform BitMart.
The partnership will see BitMart users able to make payments using Paxful without being charged listing fees, while Paxful users will be provided the option to convert BTC into alternative cryptocurrencies using BitMart’s exchange. Both companies expect that the agreement will bolster liquidity on their respective exchange platforms.
At the time, Ray Youssef, the CEO and co-founder of Paxful, stated: “We’re excited to integrate with BitMart in efforts to bring more trading options to emerging markets. It has always been our mission to provide financial freedom worldwide and we see this as the next big step in the financial revolution.”
The founder and CEO of BitMart, Sheldon Xia, emphasized that the partnership will significantly expand the number of ways by which the exchange’s users can purchase BTC, stating:
“With this partnership, investors will now have direct access to multiple payment approaches including bank transfers, gift cards, debit/credit cards, and cash deposits, lowering the barriers to entry for new adopters of digital currency investment.”
BitMart currently has a user base of more than 600,000 and a reported 24-hour volume of approximately $1.18 billion, while Paxful has hosted approximately $20 million worth of bitcoin trades on a weekly basis for the last 12 months.
Centralization vs. adoption
While the proliferation of cryptocurrency payment platforms is undoubtedly pushing the ecosystem toward mainstream adoption, popular payment apps could prove to be a centralizing force upon the crypto community as a handful of major companies compete for consumer loyalty.
However, the increasing presence of large financial corporations within the cryptocurrency economy may create pressure on lawmakers to provide clear guidelines pertaining to crypto, with the prevalence of an unclear or exclusionary regulatory apparatus comprising the primary barrier to a rapid and global expansion of the cryptocurrency payments industry.
A Coinbase crash interrupts Bitcoin’s parabolic run and a Singaporean exchange is the latest to fall victim to a hacking attack.
Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.
After surpassing the $12,000 and $13,000 marks in a matter of hours, Bitcoin’s (BTC) parabolic run was plunged into peril when the Coinbase crypto exchange crashed on June 26. Prices began to tumble shortly before the trading platform confirmed there was a problem — and there was a 51-minute gap between its investigation starting and services returning to normal. The correction now suggests that $13,800 is an important barrier to further gains, as BTC has never achieved a monthly close above this level. Despite the setback, it wasn’t all doom and gloom this week, with data from CoinMarketCap suggesting BTC has achieved market dominance above 60% for the first time since April 2017.
Opera launched the iOS version of its mobile web browser Opera Touch on June 26. As well as accommodating Ethereum-based decentralized applications, it supports all ERC-20 tokens, stablecoins and nonfungible tokens. The browser also reportedly features a crypto wallet for storing ETH. The release comes after an Android version of the Opera Touch was released late last year. Charles Hamel, head of crypto at the Norway-based internet company, said: “We believe that all modern browsers should integrate a crypto wallet. This will enable new business models to emerge on the web.”
A survey by crypto exchange CEX.io suggested 27% of Britons would like cryptocurrencies in “real-world applications,” such as credit card payments and international money transfers. Meanwhile, 32% said they want to see crypto technology better integrated with payment apps and mobile storage. Only 13% of respondents owned any crypto at all. CEX.io said the outlook for reaching the rest of the population was “relatively gloomy,” as just 28% of participants said they would be encouraged to buy digital currencies if they understood it more. All of this comes despite the United Kingdom being one of the countries with the highest number of Google searches for “Bitcoin.”
Square made Bitcoin deposits available on its Cash App, enabling users to add BTC from external wallets. Deposits are currently limited to $10,000 every seven days, and it takes several hours for transactions to be confirmed on the blockchain. Initially, the feature was only available for a small number of users.
Another week, another hack — and this time, it was Bitrue’s turn. It is believed a single hacker exploited a vulnerability to access the personal funds of about 90 users, with 9.3 million XRP and 2.5 million ADA lost from the exchange’s hot wallet. In a statement, the company said the incident had been detected quickly, and the exchanges where the ill-gotten crypto was sent to — Huobi, Bittrex and ChangeNOW — were swiftly notified so they could help freeze the transactions. An emergency inspection of Bitrue’s platform has been taking place, and the exchange has assured users that those affected “will have their funds replaced by us as soon as possible.”
Winners and Losers
At the end of the week, Bitcoin is at $11,630.22, Ether at $306.05 and XRP at $0.41. The total market cap is at $334,922,039,503.
The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Segwit2x, IrishCoin and Invacio. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Electrumdark, Trunk Coin and the Halo Platform.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
Most Memorable Quotations
“I think having a company like Facebook, with such tremendous reach and distribution, into all different countries around the world – having them be interested in cryptocurrency and launching one is a very very positive thing for our industry. It brings a ton of awareness to people who have never heard of cryptocurrency.”
– Teck Chia, partner at Binance Labs, at Blockchain Week Rome
“Bitcoin is digital gold and a hedge against inflationary economic crises. If investors believe in this thesis, they should slowly accumulate Bitcoin and hold it for years to come. They should not go all-in or trade frequently.”
“If central banks are gonna be this aggressive, then alternative currencies do start to become a bit more attractive.”
– Jim Reid, head of global fundamental credit strategy, Deutsche Bank
“After months of uncertainty and disruption, we have regretfully decided to shut down all digital assets exchange services and operations today. It is, without a doubt, a sad day for all digital assets and blockchain enthusiasts in India.”
Just before the Coinbase crash sent crypto prices downward, eToro analyst Simon Peters had a bold prediction: BTC could return to its all-time high of $20,000 within one to two weeks, while $50,000 to $100,000 could be achievable by the end of 2019. Peters also said that he believes this rally has been different from past surges because it hasn’t been accompanied by a spike in Google searches for “buy bitcoin,” with much of the capital entering the market coming from institutions and investors who had locked up their funds in stablecoins. Unfortunately, BTC’s rise has been at the expense of altcoins, with the analyst warning they are continuing to be “pummeled” as they languish at significant lows.
Stephen Moore, the economist who advised Trump and was at one point in the running to join the United States Federal Reserve, has joined Decentral — a project that aspires to serve as a new type of central bank. He’s set to become the chief economic officer of the platform, which aims to regulate monetary supply and exchange its own token for other cryptocurrencies. Skepticism reigns over how Decentral will be able to persuade critics that the crypto community needs to bring back self-same intermediaries that Bitcoin was designed to disrupt. Nonetheless, Moore said, “I’m really excited about doing this. I hope it makes me rich.”
Number of the Week
5,000! Research from CoinATMRadar suggested the total number of Bitcoin ATMs (BTMs) worldwide has now exceeded 5,000 for the first time. They are spread across 90 countries and enable crypto users to buy or sell BTC on demand. About six per day were installed on average in June, and increased competition is expected to drive down the fees charged to BTM users.
The crypto market provider has requested all exchanges to disclose accurate data in a bid to increase transparency — and warned failure to do so would result in them being delisted. Now that the 45-day grace period has passed, Cointelegraph explores whether the fight against fake volumes is putting the crypto industry on the right track.
The founder of the Canadian exchange, Gerald Cotten, reportedly died in India last December at the age of 30. The bombshell came when QuadrigaCX admitted that it couldn’t access the $145 million owed to users because it was kept in cold storage, and only Cotten knew the password. Ever since, theories have been swirling around about what actually happened to the entrepreneur, where the money is and whether the saga is over.
With significant progress being made in quantum computing, concerns are growing among the crypto community. Cointelegraph examines whether the quantum computer could kill blockchain, and the changes that could be triggered in cryptography as a result.
Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey explains his vision for new crypto team.
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey said that he hopes private firms will understand the value of a stateless currency during an interview with technology news outlet Quartz published on June 14.
Quartz reported that during the interview — which took place in the headquarters of his bitcoin (BTC)-supporting payments platform Square in London — Dorsey noted:
“I would hope that all private companies can see the value of having a stateless currency that all people can access.”
Dorsey also reportedly said that he notices two secular trends which could impact the financial system, the first being the ongoing trend towards placing decisional power on algorithms and the second one being blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The increasing influence of algorithms, he said, raises the need to create algorithms which explain the reasons behind their decisions and ensure that they are without bias.
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, Dorsey believes are a consequence of the internet emerging as the global equivalent of a nation-state and needing a native currency that is not governed by a central entity, just like the internet itself. The advantages of currencies not being controlled by a central entity is also the reason why he seemed less than optimistic about the long-rumored Facebook coin:
“I would go back to, we need a currency for the internet. And the internet being an entity that isn’t controlled by any company or any one government, that is for the world and for the people of the world.”
In a different interview, published on June 14 by technology news outlet TheNextWeb, Dorsey expressed the idea that having a decentralized internet currency would make digital companies in the financial industry such as Square more like internet companies:
“Just from a business perspective, we don’t look like an Internet company today. An Internet company can launch something and it’s available around the world. Whereas with payments, you have to go to each market and pay attention to regulators. […] The Internet having a native currency will enable us to be more like an Internet company.”
As Cointelegraph reported earlier this week, Square Crypto announced that it recruited former Google product director Steve Lee.
Square Crypto was announced in March of this year when the organization joined Twitter, and planned to hire crypto engineers and designers to work on the bitcoin and crypto ecosystem, paying them in cryptocurrency.
Just hours before announcing Lee’s recruitment, the official Twitter Square Crypto account asked — in what appeared to be a joke — the community to welcome the company’s “summer intern and inaugural hire, Gary Fuches.” Then, the author of the next tweet claimed to be Fuches and noted his commitment to blockchain technology:
“Hello everybody! My name’s Gary and I’m here to say, I love blockchain in a very big way!!!”
A significant portion of the respondents reacted by correcting him and noting that he should have said bitcoin, instead of blockchain. One hour later, the management announced the hiring of Steve Lee in another tweet:
“Hey guys. Management again. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out with Gary. However, we think we’ve found somebody who can live up to his commitment to decentralization. Please welcome Steve Lee, aka @moneyball, to the Square Crypto team.”
As the next — and last — tweet sent by the account notes, Lee is a former product director at Google, an angel investor and a volunteer project manager for bitcoin development. His LinkedIn profile further notes that he has also been a software engineer at technology giant IBM and a product manager intern at Yahoo. Lee, as some members of the community did in response to Gary’s alleged tweet, noted:
“Bitcoin, not blockchain. Very excited about this opportunity!”
As Cointelegraph reported at the beginning of May, Square saw a new revenue high from bitcoin sales through its Cash app, while profits from bitcoin sales remained low.
In February, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey — also the founder and CEO of Square — said that rolling out the Lightning Network on Square’s Cash App is a question of “when, not if.”