If you can’t beat’em, facilitate payments for them.
Or at least that’s what is being suggested by payment services companies who may have previously been sitting on the fence when it comes to cryptocurrencies, but are now starting to embrace them.
Payment app Venmo, is the latest firm to allow credit card holders to automatically purchase cryptocurrencies right from their Venmo account using the cashback they’ve earned from purchases.
The move drew mixed responses from Venmo’s user base but shows that the pressure on companies to provide services connected to cryptocurrencies, even at the risk of alienating or confusing a portion of their user base, resistant to the nascent asset class.
But Venmo, which is owned by PayPal, is hardly alone when it comes to cryptocurrency adoption for its user base.
Upgrade, which offers personal loans and credit cards, recently launched the first U.S. credit card to offer bitcoin rewards, while Robinhood Markets (-4.09%), which has enabled cryptocurrency trading for some time now, is expanding features to support the service.
Stripe, which lets merchants accept customer payments, is growing its cryptocurrency team while retail giant Walmart (+1.01%) is launching a pilot program that allows shoppers to buy bitcoin at Coinstar kiosks in some of its U.S. stores.
Even traditionally staid financial institutions have had no choice but to throw their hat in the ring, with the likes of Goldman Sachs Group (+1.65%), Bank of New York (-0.050%) and even Singapore’s own DBS Group Holdings (+0.22%), offering cryptocurrency-related services and trading.
To top it off, last week saw the successful launch of the bitcoin-futures based ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, which along with a similar ETF from Valkyrie Investments, soak up some US$1 billion in assets.
Whereas in the not-so-distant past, getting exposure to bitcoin’s price fluctuations was a complicated affair, best left to the technically competent, a growing number of companies are making it easier so that everyday customers can get a sprinkling of cryptocurrency in their everyday lives.
For now at least, it doesn’t seem as though many cryptocurrency holders are hot on dumping their bags by spending them, with many quite content for now to speculate and trade on them.
And for the companies which are willing to provide cryptocurrency services, the returns can be incredibly lucrative.
Cash App, the mobile payments service developed by Square (-4.55%), generated some US$2.72 billion in revenue and US$55 million in gross profit from bitcoin transactions during the second quarter of this year alone, three times what it did last year.