Square Buys Another $170M in Bitcoin

Ahead of its fourth-quarter earnings call Tuesday the payments firm announced it had purchased an additional 3,318 BTC as a reserve asset.

AccessTimeIconFeb 23, 2021 at 9:18 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 3:16 a.m. UTC

Payments giant Square said Tuesday it had purchased an additional $170 million of bitcoin (BTC), adding to the stash it purchased in October.

Someone should have looked at the price of BTC before that went to press.

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  • According to the payment processor's press release, the company added 3,318 BTC to its treasury for $170 million. Doing the math, that results in a per bitcoin purchase price of $51,235.70.

    Unfortunately for Square, after setting a record high above $58,000 over this past weekend, bitcoin hit a recent low of $44,964.49 before rebounding to about $48,408.31 at press time.

    When Square's announcement was released, just after 4 p.m. ET, the price of bitcoin was below $48,000, which means those 3,318 BTC were then worth less than $160 million.

    In disclosing it's lost more than $10 million on its latest investment in BTC, the company may inadvertently draw attention to an argument JPMorgan analysts made recently about why they think many companies won't follow in the footsteps of Square and others (Tesla, MicroStrategy) that have added BTC to their treasuries: the cryptocurrency's volatility.

    Just before the release of its fourth-quarter earnings call the company made the announcement that it had added to the 4,709 BTC it purchased in October 2020, which were worth $50 million at the time. Currently, that investment is worth $224 million and the company’s total value of BTC on Square’s balance sheet is $394 million.

    Square has $4.4 billion in total cash and securities, so the $220 million it spent on bitcoin is only 5% of its total liquid assets at the end of the fourth quarter.

    UPDATE (Feb. 23, 22:41 UTC): Updates throughout to reflect the change in value of Square's investment.
    UPDATE (Feb. 24, 02:25 UTC): Adds paragraph about bitcoin volatility.

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