Payments app Square made headlines — and dollars — when it integrated Bitcoin trading into its mobile platform back during the crypto bull market of winter 2017.
Now, rival payments firm Venmo, owned by PayPal, is following suit by launching cryptocurrency trading for four major coins: Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litceoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
Beginning on Tuesday and set to be widely available within the new few weeks, Venmo’s 70 million+ customers will be able to buy, hold and sell crypto directly within the Venmo app. The launch is offering users access to in-app guides to help them to better navigate the cryptocurrency trading space and will encourage them to share their cryptocurrency experiences via the Venmo feed.
Venmo users will be able to buy as little as $1 worth of cryptocurrency and can use either funds from their Venmo balance or from a linked bank account or debit card to buy and sell their holdings.
Over 30% of Venmo customers have already begun to purchase cryptocurrency or equities, according to the company’s research into 2020 customer behavior. Of these, 20% began their purchase during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that the public health and concurrent economic crisis has 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 its stablecoin and other services. Venmo owner PayPal is also the holder of a conditional Bitlicense from the exacting New York State Department of Financial Services. Conditional licensees, such as PayPal, are required to pair off with firms that have already been granted full-blown licenses — as, in this case, has Paxos.
Just under a week ago, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman hinted at developments underway since the payments giant first went live with its crypto offering in the United States in November of last year. Schulman said that PayPal aims to support the use of crypto for everyday transactions and to tap into smart contracts and other, more expansive features of blockchain technology. He also pitched the company’s vision of leveraging crypto for the attainment of a more “inclusive economy,” in which “things will be done much differently than today.”