Although many Bitcoin enthusiasts have been looking for new merchants who are directly accepting the cryptocurrency in their local towns, it seems that a move from Square could end up being an even bigger deal. Square announced their integration with Bitcoin today on their blog, and they revealed a few details about how their new Bitcoin-enhanced system is going to work. Most online retailers are not going to notice much of a change, except for the fact that they could have a new crowd of Bitcoin customers rolling through their stores. Online merchants who already use Square Market can now accept Bitcoin at the click of a button, which should open the door to many new real world Bitcoin transactions. While this is amazing news for the Bitcoin payment system, it should be noted that Square merchants will not have the option to hold onto the bitcoins sent to them by their customers. The bitcoins will be instantly converted to dollars for merchants who decide to accept the cryptocurrency.
While some bitcoiners will be disappointed by the fact that brick and mortor retailers who use Square still cannot integrate with Bitcoin, this is definitely still a move in the right direction. At the end of the day, huge merchants, such as Whole Foods and Starbucks, are already integrated with Square, so they’ll instantly have access to Bitcoin payments once Square decides to build this out on a larger scale. It makes sense for Square to start with online merchants before they bring Bitcoin into the real world. Once their new system has been thoroughly tested online, they will eventually be able to give real world merchants the option to accept Bitcoin payments. Jack Dorsey has stated his intention to allow merchants to accept every form of payment known to man, so it would make sense for him to eventually bring Bitcoin to the masses through Square Register.
The real problem when it comes to Bitcoin adoption at physical stores and restaurants right now is that merchants don’t want to have to add a completely new POS system to their business. With something like Square Register, Bitcoin could be placed right next to Visa and Mastercard as a payment option for customers. While this may be pie in the sky thinking right now, it wouldn’t be too crazy for Square to allow merchants to offer discounts to customers who wish to pay with Bitcoin. Square already offers a unique, low-priced 2.75% fee to each transaction, and integration with Bitcoin would allow them to lower that rate even more for their merchants. As competition between Square, Stripe, PayPal, Google, and others continues to heat up at physical stores, we could see those low fees offered by Bitcoin come into play.