Square Patent Brings Crypto to the Point of Sale, Coincides With Bitcoin Eatup Day
A Square patent application for a system that allows merchants using the Square Cash App to accept cryptocurrencies has been granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In a major boost to the cryptocurrency ecosystem, the company is set to bring digital currencies into the mainstream.
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Square Patent Helps It Get Jump on Bakkt, Circle
With over 7 million active users, the Square Cash App is a mobile payment service that allows users to send, receive, and spend money with their mobile phones. Jack Dorsey’s startup has become an increasingly popular way for people to shop and send money to friends and family.
The patent, filed last September and granted on August 21st, describes technology designed to speed up cryptocurrency transaction speeds to rival those of Visa and MasterCard. The technology describes a transaction process wherein Square’s payment service converts the currency of the customer’s choosing to the currency of the merchant’s choosing — in either case fiat or crypto — nearly instantaneously.
Square becomes, in essence, a trusted intermediary between the transacting parties. The process boosts transaction speeds, protects merchants from unwittingly transacting with ill-gotten funds, and allows customers to use the currency of their choice.
Incidentally, Square was awarded five additional patents on the same day, and two more since, with another published, pending approval. In January, Dorsey announced Square support for customers who wanted to use bitcoin:
Instant buying (and selling, if you don’t want to hodl) of Bitcoin is now available to most Cash App customers. We support Bitcoin because we see it as a long-term path towards greater financial access for all. This is a small step.
We also made this! https://t.co/z3u0liDNk4
— jack (@jack) January 31, 2018
Cryptocurrency Ecosystem Set to Expand
The patent filing is clearly an attempt to bring merchants into the crypto ecosystem — and cryptocurrencies into the Square ecosystem — by enhancing transaction speeds and providing trust and convenience. Earlier this month, startup Bakkt, supported by Microsoft and Starbucks, announced the impending arrival of a crypto trading desk, providing easier on-ramping between fiat and crypto.
Boston-based, Goldman Sachs-backed Circle, another mobile payment app, already offers support for crypto. Circle and Square would appear to be competing for the crypto-at-the-point-of-sale market. Square’s new patented technology is set to mark a major milestone on the path of the mainstreamification of cryptocurrencies.
The past week has seen the bitcoin price rise by almost ten percent. Square’s patent revelation yesterday — which the company is yet to formally announce — follows what might well one day become known as Bitcoin Eatup Day. A mere 48 hours ago, crypto was wandering down the darkened alleyways of the less savory corners of the internet, as its crusaders went to extreme lengths to save it:
The Square patent news is sure to hoist digital currencies into more salubrious activities. Per the patent filing:
“The present technology provides a payment service for providing financial transactions between a customer and merchant wherein the customer can pay in any currency and the merchant can be paid in any currency. Furthermore, the present technology supports payment using cryptocurrency, while improving such transactions in a way that takes advantage of benefits of such transactions while overcoming drawbacks such as delays in processing.”
From the Las Vegas Strip to the End of History?
Former neo-con Francis Fukayama wrote about what he called the end of history, in which he described the spread of liberal democracy and market capitalism as signals that human sociocultural evolution had reached the end of its journey. The West had won the economic and cultural war with the East. It was the dawning of a post-historical world.
Has Square just placed an equivalent timestamp on the crypto-fiat divide, which has, at various times, looked like an impassable gap?
Bitcoin Eatup Day may have been intended as self-effacing indulgence in crypto’s crass marginality. It would be ironic, then, if it coincided with the sunrise of the era of widespread crypto use by mom-and-pop shoppers, shepherded by Square. Even more ironic that Jack Dorsey provided the platforms for both.
Have your say. With the Square patent, is crypto now set to become a legitimate and viable way to spend money on a daily basis, whether that be on the Las Vegas strip or at the local grocery store?
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