Square Cash app boosts earnings as bitcoin risks come to the fore

Square Cash app boosts earnings as bitcoin risks come to the fore

Square boss Jack Dorsey has billed bitcoin as a transformational opportunity for the company as fourth-quarter results show an upsurge in use of the P2P Square Cash app.

Square disclosed active-customer numbers for the Cash platform for the first time on an earnings call late Tuesday, reporting that it topped 7 million users in December, and that those using the Square Cash debit cards spent more than $90 million.

The company generated plenty of buzz earlier this month when it announced that it is joining the growing list of tech firms entering the crypto-trading markets, enabling nearly all users to buy and sell bitcoins across its Cash payments app.

Square first began limited testing of bitcoin trading on its Cash app in mid-November and rolled out access to more customers in December.

Speaking to investors, Square CEO Jack Dorsey said: “Bitcoin, for us, is not stopping at buying and selling. We do believe that this is a transformational technology for our industry, and we want to learn as quickly as possible.”

Despite the positivity, the Square earnings statement gave plenty of column inches to the material risks arising from Square's dalliance with the cryptocurreny, particularly in regard to the evolving nature of the regulatory treatment of virtual currencies.

"If we fail to comply with regulations or prohibitions applicable to us, we could face regulatory or other enforcement actions and potential fines and other consequences," the company states. "Further, we might not be able to continue operating the feature, at least in current form, and to the extent that the feature is viewed by the market as a valuable asset to Square, the price of our Class A common stock could decrease."

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