In a census of 100 U.S. retailers that are also Square clients, over half have said that they would accept bitcoin as payment. Square is a payment processing provider with a large, nuanced offering for point of sale.
Dan Dolev, an analyst at Nomura Instinet, said, “This result is surprising, especially amid bitcoin’s elevated volatility.” The results of the survey point to a remarkable, almost inevitable acceptance of cryptocurrency among retailers.
Squares Income Streams Not Yet Visible
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square founder, said that “bitcoin, for us, is not stopping at buying and selling.” He was commenting on the firm’s fourth-quarter earnings call in February 2018.
“We do believe that this is a transformational technology for our industry and we want to learn as quickly as possible.” The company’s emerging prospects have elicited some comments pointing to it being “like Amazon in its early days.”
Wallstreet resident Nomura’s Dovey also said that:
“Undoubtedly, the success of the Cash App … is a significant achievement. Currently, an individual can set up the app in minutes and send peer-to-peer payments, store money, receive their paycheck and buy and sell bitcoin.”
Dovey was referring to Square’s November 2017 project that allowed some beta users to purchase bitcoin via its Cash App, an app that enables users to send money to their friends. The company went on to say in January 2018 that is was making the option available to nearly all users.
Nomura Instinet confirmed its buy rating for Square shares, listing merchants’ openness to accepting bitcoin in-store. It is apparent to Nomura and other observers that Square has a large and yet untapped opportunity to extend cryptocurrency payment solutions to its clients, a prospect well met by the retailers survey results show. Dolev confirmed $64 as a price target for Square shares, which would be a 23.5 percent upside to Tuesday March 13, 2018’s close.
The published survey results showed:
“Sixty percent of the participating merchants (we note that we surveyed U.S. merchants only) would be willing to accept bitcoin in lieu of USD payment. This is particularly interesting given the volatility in bitcoin in recent months.”
Users Already On Board
Some seven million people already use the company’s Cash payment app, allowing users to purchase bitcoin almost throughout America. In the survey, the 31-40 age group was the highest representation, with around 40 percent of respondents falling into that group. The respondents spanned a diverse range of industries, and all had a minimum of $100,000 in annual revenue.
The frequent need to address slow transaction times, often high fees and the volatile circus bitcoin has been on the markets at times all make many analysts skeptical of the digital asset as a legitimate currency.
Although bitcoin and many others are constantly trying to address scalability issues, the persistent reputation of digital coins as slow and complicated makes many retailers in the U.S. still largely hesitant about virtual payments. According to Yelp, only 28 restaurants in Greater New York City currently accept bitcoin.
However, the firm hinted there is a possibility that they are looking to acquire a BitLicense to operate in New York state; this regulatory requirement has in the past driven out many digital currency firms from the state.