Bitcoin Play Speaks to Square’s Innovation, Not Bitcoin’s Validation, Says CFO

Journalist:
Lester Coleman
November 18, 2017

Sarah Friar, CFO and operations lead at Square, told CNBC that her company’s recent move to enable bitcoin trading stands as a testimony to its innovation as opposed to a validation of bitcoin, according to a recent report.

Square’s cash app, which is used for payment among friends, is testing the ability to buy and sell bitcoin, a benefit that could make bitcoin easier to trade for a huge swath of the population, particularly younger consumers. Square shares soon jumped more than 4 percent Wednesday as one Wall Street firm was quick to recommend the stock following this potential development, CNBC reported.

The Need To Innovate

Friar told Mad Money host Jim Cramer Wednesday that Square is a payment innovator that makes it its business to know where its payments are going. She said the company listens carefully to what its customers have to say when new products are introduced.

Friar’s comments put a slightly different perspective to the company’s recent move compared to those offered by Square CEO Jack Dorsey, who told The Verge that he had been asked by numerous people how to buy bitcoin. Dorsey said bitcoin could be popular with younger people who are using smartphones to make payments to friends.

Friar said Square, in offering bitcoin trading, is not responding to sellers asking to accept bitcoin, but individuals using Square Cash to make payments, saying they want an easy way to sell and buy bitcoin.

Innovators Act, Don’t Study

Companies like Square don’t have the time for studies or academic papers, Friar said. The fastest way to learn about new trends is to create products around them, she said. What the product does internally is make everyone who supports the innovation get to work and determine how to do the innovation properly.

For Friar, the move is an effort to seize on the next trend.

Innovators have to take risks to be able to be ahead of where innovation is heading, Friar said. She compared bitcoin to the early days of the Internet or the cloud. In the case of the cloud, many people said they would never take data outside of a data center, thinking the cloud was unsafe.

Also read: Square cash app lets users trade bitcoin amidst price surge

Future Uncertain

Friar said she doesn’t think it is known what digital currency is going to be, but Square, being an innovator, must be in the space to allow customers to do what they want.

Square enables sellers to accept card payments and also provides reporting and analytics, next-day settlement and chargeback protection. Square’s point-of-sale software and other services help sellers manage inventory.

Featured image from Flickr/Web Summit.

Lester Coleman

Lester Coleman is a media relations consultant for the payments and automated retailing industries.