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Mobile payment startup Square brings a virtual currency world closer with new partnership with Coinbase

A sci-fi world where we all carry virtual currency in preference to the ‘real’ stuff has come a step closer, thanks to a new partnership between the increasingly popular mobile payment provider Square and Bitcoin wallet Coinbase. It doesn’t take a seasoned product manager to recognize that this is a potentially big development for the future of the cryptocurrency.

Simple and painless for buyer and seller alike

All goods and services on the startup’s online storefront, Square Marketplace, will now be available to buy with Bitcoin as well as with traditional bank or credit cards (the Marketplace in a kind of virtual one-stop-shop featuring items from ecommerce merchants who are actually geographically scattered across the world).

The more skeptical product manager may be speculating whether this is just a shameless attempt to ride the Bitcoin hype wave; but he or she would be wrong. Square’s market lead, Ajit Varma, explains in the company blog announcing the move that sellers won’t notice anything different (apart perhaps from better sales) and buyers will find it simple and painless, thanks to the adroit technological processing Square has put in place. Buyers simply scan the QR code in their Bitcoin wallets to load the details of the transaction, and once the payment details are in the wallet they just submit the payment to the network.

Sellers will be spared the hassle of converting Bitcoin into real green stuff; they’ll get the full amount for whatever service or product they advertised in USD. Square doesn’t charge any fees to either buyers or sellers for Bitcoin payments, and sellers don’t need to worry about fluctuations in the value of Bitcoin: they get the dollar amount as advertised at the time of transaction). The Bitcoin exchange will be processed by Coinbase, which is collaborating with Square on the new development.

The future is now

Square, which was launched in 2009, now has offices in New York and Waterloo, Canada and is headquartered in San Francisco. And it’s brought that future cryptocurrency-run sci-fi world we mentioned at the start right into the present. Well, a “Bit” of it, at least.

Our product manager may now be feeling a good deal less skeptical and even reaching for that Bitcoin wallet while browsing the Square Marketplace.

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