Daily Review: Square Tests Bitcoin Trading, ICBC Launches a Robo-Advisor & Alibaba Sets Another Record

As Bitcoin hits new highs, big FinTech firms flock to the cryptocurrency to meet consumer demand. Whether this is an attempt to ride the wave, or out of sincere belief in the future of cryptocurrency, Square's beta of cryptocurrency trading is certainly a positive sign for the affectionate community.

Square Cash is letting some users buy and sell Bitcoin

  • Square is testing cryptocurrency support in their Cash app.
  • The trial, available right now to a small number of users, lets users buy and sell Bitcoin directly in the app. Users who have access to the beta can swipe right from the Cash Card page to access Bitcoin functionality.
  • Square is likely using pooled wallets to hold user funds and not storing private keys on a user’s device, similar to how Coinbase works.
  • For now, the feature is centered around buying and selling Bitcoin and not sending and receiving. There’s a (potentially non-functioning) option to generate an address to receive Bitcoin, but no option to send it.
  • We’re always listening to our customers and we’ve found that they are interested in using the Cash app to buy Bitcoin. We’re exploring how Square can make this experience faster and easier, and have rolled out this feature to a small number of Cash app customers. We believe cryptocurrency can greatly impact the ability of individuals to participate in the global financial system and we’re excited to learn more here. – Square Spokesperson.

Read more on TechCrunch.

ICBC, the nation’s largest bank by assets becomes the first of China’s ‘big four’ lenders to offer automated advice and product service.

ICBC launches robo-adviser service for wealth-management products

  • ICBC has applied the latest AI-led technology to its wealth-management operations.
  • Its newly launched robo-adviser service will see computer programs dish out investment advice to retail investors over its mobile banking platform, becoming the first among the nation’s big four state-owned lenders to unlock the potential of the hot new service being adopted rapidly by the industry, worldwide.
  • The value of China’s total robo-adviser services (banks + asset managers + FinTech) is expected to top US $783 billion by 2020. Globally, the segment is projected to reach US $6.5 trillion by 2025, up from US $100 billion in 2016.
  • ICBC is the nation’s largest bank by assets, but small- and mid-sized mainland banks have already tested such services.

Read more on the South China Morning Post.

Alibaba smashes its Single’s Day record once again as sales cross $25 billion

  • Alibaba has set another Single’s Day record after the e-commerce giant sold over $25 billion in GMV on the Chinese biggest online shopping date.
  • Alibaba handled 1.48 billion transactions during the 24-hour period – a 39% increase in last year’s sales total of RMB $17.79 billion.
  • This year’s 11/11 got off to a fast start with around $7 billion of goods sold in the first 30 minutes of the day alone. Alibaba went on to surpass last year’s $18 billion total after just 12 hours of sales.
  • About 90% of sales were made on mobile which is up on 82% for 2016 and 69% in 2015.
  • Total order numbers hit 812 million, up 23%.
  • Alibaba Cloud, which handled the infrastructure, managed 325,000 orders at peak.
  • Over 140,000 brands – including 60,000 international – took part in Tmall where they offered 15 million product listings.
  • 167 merchants generated over $15.1 million in sales each.
  • 17 merchants surpassed $75.4 million each.
  • Six merchants surpassed $150.9 million each.

Read more on TechCrunch.