The “Paid in Bitcoin” option was just one of a trio of new features announced by Block, which has recently doubled down on an ambitious crypto agenda it accelerated last year.
One of the other new features is a “round up” Bitcoin option for those who use Cash App’s debit card. This means that a user who makes a $2.80 Starbucks purchase can choose to have the extra 20 cents added to their account in Bitcoin. (Round-up apps have been popular in fintech for years; in 2017, CoinDesk acquired a Bitcoin round-up app called Lawnmower.)
Cash App to add ability to receive Bitcoin Lightning payments
The final feature announced by Block relates to the Lightning Network—a rail that facilitates rapid and low-cost Bitcoin payments.
While Block integrated Lightning to Cash App in February, users can currently only send Bitcoin via the network, not receive it—something Block says will change in the “near future.”
“Soon, customers will also be able to receive bitcoin via the Lightning Network by simply sharing your QR code or payment request. This new feature furthers Cash App’s mission to make bitcoin usable as a currency,” the company said in a statement.
Block added that receiving Lightning payments will only be available to U.S. customers, except those who live in New York—presumably because of the state’s onerous crypto licensing regime.
All of this comes as Block, better-known for hardware like payment dongles and cash registers, is betting its future on becoming a crypto-first business.
The company’s Cash App—a rival to Venmo and Zelle—reportedly has around 36 million active monthly users and has been a key means of introducing Block users to crypto.
Block’s new features this week also put it into more direct competition with services like Coinbase and Robinhood, which likewise offer a mix of traditional and crypto payment services.
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