Bitcoin Goes Mainstream

Fintech giants PayPal Holdings and Square are adding legitimacy to the once-shadowy world of crypto payments.

Both now offer users the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrency and potentially even transact with them at stores.

Interest in Bitcoin and other digital currencies has surged this year, driven by high-profile investors and a pandemic that has accelerated consumer comfort with payment options that don’t involve cash.

About 13% of people surveyed by Susquehanna Financial Group said they used Square’s (ticker: SQ) Cash app to buy Bitcoin, while 27% of PayPal (PYPL) users said they were either somewhat or very likely to buy cryptocurrency through the app.

Susquehanna analyst James Friedman, who rates both stocks a Buy, wrote in a note Tuesday that the survey findings should “prove instructive” to investors in Square and PayPal as well as to those considering taking a dive into cryptocurrencies.

Shares of PayPal have doubled this year, while Square is up 236%, compared with a 14% gain in the S&P 500. Bitcoin is up 162% this year.

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