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Coinbase attracts yet another rival—Jack Dorsey’s Square

Coinbase attracts yet another rival—Jack Dorsey’s Square
[Photo: Flickr user JD Lasica]

Virtually overnight, cryptocurrency trading has become big business. Coinbase, the leading crypto app, booked over $1 billion in revenue last year.

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Rivals are circling. Robinhood, the free brokerage app popular with first-time investors, announced last week that it plans to launch bitcoin and ethereum trading in February. As if on cue, over 1 million people joined Robinhood’s crypto trading waitlist. Now Cash App, a popular mobile wallet developed by Square, is making bitcoin trading available to nearly all users nationwide.

Cash App bitcoin trading will not be available to users in Georgia, Hawaii, New York, and Wyoming, due to regulatory constraints.

The entrance of Robinhood and Square, in quick succession, puts Coinbase on the defensive. While its new competitors are free to use, Coinbase charges 1.5-4% per transaction. Robinhood and Square also benefit from established reputations in financial sectors (brokerage and payments) where speed and reliability are paramount. With its downtime problems and security flaws, Coinbase will have to play catch-up to keep its customer base intact.

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