Jack Dorsey’s Square Receives a BitLicense, Thereby Allowing New Yorkers to Trade Bitcoin Using the ‘Cash’ App

Siamak Masnavi

Payment company Square, founded and headed by Jack Dorsey (who is also co-founder and CEO of Twitter), on Monday, 18 June 2018, become the ninth company to ever receive a BitLicense from New York State's Department of Financial Services (DFS or NYDFS), thereby allowing New York residents to use the Bitcoin trading feature of the company's increasingly popular payment app "Cash".

A BitLicense is necessary for any person/entity that wants to operate a "virtual currency" business. And since Square did not have one till today, it was unable to offer to New York state residents the ability to buy/sell Bitcoin (BTC) from within the Cash app, even though this feature had been introduced in late January.  Appropriately enough, Square used Twitter to announce this news:

Instinet analyst Dan Dolev told CNBC:

"That was one of the missing pieces in their puzzle... They had approval in most states, but New York was by far the biggest one where you couldn't trade bitcoin."

Dan Dolev, Analyst at Instinet

In its press release, the DFS said that it had "conducted a comprehensive review of Square’s application, including the company’s anti-money laundering, anti-fraud, capitalization, consumer protection, and cybersecurity policies."

Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo said:

“DFS is pleased to approve Square’s application and welcomes them to New York’s expanding and well-regulated virtual currency market... DFS continues to work in support of a vibrant and competitive virtual currency market that connects and empowers New Yorkers in a global marketplace while ensuring strong state-regulatory oversight is in place.”

Maria T. Vullo, Financial Services Superintendent

“DFS is pleased to approve Square’s application and welcomes them to New York’s expanding and well-regulated virtual currency market... DFS continues to work in support of a vibrant and competitive virtual currency market that connects and empowers New Yorkers in a global marketplace while ensuring strong state-regulatory oversight is in place.”

“We are thrilled to now provide New Yorkers with Cash App’s quick and simple way to buy and sell bitcoin,” said Brian Grassadonia, Head of the Cash app. “Square and the New York State DFS share a vision of empowering people with greater access to the financial system and today’s news is an important step in realizing that goal.”

The other eight companies that have received a BitLicense from the NYDFS are Xapo, Inc., Genesis Global Trading Inc., bitFlyer USA, Coinbase Inc., XRP II and Circle Internet Financial, and charters to Gemini Trust Company and Paxos (formerly itBit Trust Company).