Payment app Square made headlines – and Dollars – when it added bitcoin trading to its mobile platform during the Crypto-Bull market in the winter of 2017.
Competing payment company Venmo, owned by PayPal, is following suit and launching cryptocurrency trading for four major coins: Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litceoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
As of Tuesday, Venmo’s more than 70 million customers will be able to buy, hold and sell crypto directly in the Venmo app. The launch provides users with access to in-app manuals to help them better navigate the cryptocurrency trading area and encourages them to share their cryptocurrency experience through the Venmo feed.
Venmo users can buy as little as $ 1 worth of cryptocurrency and use either money from their Venmo balance or from a linked bank account or debit card to buy and sell their holdings.
According to the company’s 2020 customer behavior research, over 30% of Venmo customers have already started buying cryptocurrency or stocks. Of these, 20% started their purchase during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that public health and the accompanying economic crisis have accelerated trends in digitization and experimentation with new financial technologies.
Support for cryptocurrency on Venmo is facilitated through a partnership with Paxos Trust Company, a regulated provider of crypto products such as stablecoin and other services. Venmo owner PayPal also holds a conditional bit license from the sophisticated New York State Treasury. Conditional licensees like PayPal need to partner with companies that have already been granted full licenses – like Paxos in this case.
Just under a week ago, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman gave an indication of the latest developments since the payment giant first launched its crypto offering in the United States in November last year. According to Schulman, PayPal will support the use of crypto for everyday transactions and leverage smart contracts and other, more comprehensive functions of blockchain technology. He also set up the company’s vision of using crypto to achieve a “more inclusive economy” in which “things are done very differently than they are today.”