Bitcoin, when it was first launched, was marketed (or proposed, rather) as a “peer-to-peer electronic cash” for the world.
While many other cryptocurrencies have followed Bitcoin down this path, no digital asset has become a widely-used form of digital payment, even in places where traditional payment systems can be extremely slow, expensive, or completely inaccessible.
Indeed. Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most prominent money managers and a strong proponent that central banks may be getting out of control, was recently quoted as saying in an interview with CNBC that Bitcoin is too volatile to be a proper store of value and medium of exchange.
But, over the past 24 hours, two large companies working with cryptocurrencies have announced developments that could help Bitcoin and other digital assets become better forms of payment.
Square Bags Patent Outlining Crypto-To-Fiat Transactions
Square, a fintech company headed by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey that in 2018 integrated a barebones Bitcoin exchange, was just awarded a crypto-related patent.
This patent outlines a system that will allow fiat to be rapidly converted into “non-fiat” instruments, with the document mentioning the word “Bitcoin” and “cryptocurrency” (and Ethereum, too) on a number of occasions:
The present technology permits a first party to pay in any currency, while permitting the second party to be paid in any currency.
The network and technology defined in the patent could theoretically enable seamless crypto-to-fiat and fiat-to-crypto transactions, potentially mitigating the volatility element mentioned earlier that Dalio described as a main factor holding back Bitcoin’s validity as a form of money.
This isn’t the only crypto payments-related announcement Square has made recently.
Per previous reports from Blockonomi, Square Crypto, the firm’s internal blockchain-focused division, unveiled the Lightning Development Kit (LDK) on Tuesday.
This is kind of like a traditional software development kit (SDK) but focused on the Lightning Network, a second-layer scaling solution that effectively migrates some transactions off the main chain to allow for lightning-fast, effectively free, and cross-chain transfers.
The LDK, the post indicates, will allow wallet developers to create “custom” integrations of the Network in an “easy, safe, and configurable way” through an API, demo apps, and other technical tools.
Essentially, sans technical terms and crypto lingo, this product should make the integration of the Lightning Network into existing or up-and-coming cryptocurrency software much easier than it is, and should, therefore, increase the adoption of the scaling solution with ample time.
Bakkt Reveals More Details About Starbucks-Associated Crypto App
In a similar strain of news, on Wednesday, Adam White, president of cryptocurrency infrastructure giant Bakkt, revealed more details about his company’s long-awaited consumer application.
The Microsoft- and Intercontinental Exchange-backed company has been focusing on Bitcoin derivatives and financial vehicles for institutional clients since its launch, but intends to expand into consumer infrastructure with this app.
Per a report from The Block, White said at one of the outlet’s events in Davos, Switzerland that the consumer app will not be constrained to just cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but will also be able to interact with other digital values such as loyalty reward points and digital representations of equities.
The industry executive also said that the application may include the trading of assets, a portal for merchants, and other digital assets that “would make the app more similar to a traditional fintech product like PayPal than a crypto-native offering,” The Block report read.
In 2019, the same outlet broke news that Starbucks — which has backed Bakkt — may be accepting Bitcoin through the upstart’s mobile application, though it isn’t clear if this plan is still on the table.
But, should it be, Bakkt’s consumer cryptocurrency app could mark a massive step forward in this industry’s goal to become a key part of payments and broader finance.