The Square payments app made headlines – and in dollars – by integrating Bitcoin trading into its mobile platform during the crypto bull market of winter 2017.
Now, rival payments company Venmo, owned by PayPal, is doing the same by launching cryptocurrency trading for four major currencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litceoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
Starting Tuesday, and with the intention of being available in the coming weeks, Venmo’s 70+ million customers will be able to buy, hold, and sell cryptocurrencies directly in the Venmo app. The launch offers users access to in-app guides to help you better navigate the crypto trading space and will encourage them to share their experiences with cryptocurrencies through the Venmo feed.
Venmo users will be able to buy as little as $ 1 worth of cryptocurrencies and they can use funds from their Venmo balance or a linked bank account or debit card to buy and sell their holdings.
More than 30% of Venmo customers have already started buying cryptocurrencies or stocks, according to the company’s research on customer behavior in 2020. Of these, 20% started their purchase during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that public health and the concurrent economic crisis have accelerated trends in digitization and experimentation with new financial technologies.
Cryptocurrency support on Venmo is facilitated through a partnership with Paxos Trust Company, a regulated provider of cryptocurrency products like its stablecoin and other services. Venmo owner PayPal also holds a conditional Bitlicense from the demanding New York State Department of Financial Services. Conditional licensees, such as PayPal, must partner with companies that have already been fully licensed, such as Paxos in this case.
Just under a week ago, the CEO of PayPal, Dan Schulman, hinted at the advances that are taking place since the payments company launched its cryptocurrency offering in the United States in November of last year. Schulman said that PayPal aims to support the use of crypto for day-to-day transactions and take advantage of smart contracts and other broader features of blockchain technology.. He also presented the company’s vision of leveraging cryptocurrencies to achieve a “more inclusive economy”, in which “things will be done in a very different way than today.”