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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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