Square Misses Earnings in Q3, Ups Bet on Bitcoin; Shares Fall By

By Yasin Ebrahim – Shares of Square fell in after-hours trading Tuesday after delivering mixed quarterly results as earnings fell short of estimates as costs surged amid efforts to boost marketing of its cash app. 

Square (NYSE:) was down nearly 5% in after-market hours. 

The company reported EPS of 4 cents on revenue of $3.16 billion, compared with Wall Street estimates for 24 cents on revenue of $3.1 billion.  


Transaction-based revenue was $929 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, up 12% year over year, and transaction-based gross profit was $394 million, up 26% year over year.


Gross payment volume of as up 12% in the fourth quarter of 2020.


Revenue growth was offset by a 49% rise in operating expenses, with sales and marketing expenses up $329 million on increased marketing efforts of the company’s Cash App. 

Cash App marketing expenses were up 128% year over year, driven primarily by increases in peer-to-peer transactions and related transactions, the company said.


The Square Cash app received an additional boost from increased cryptocurrency trading, generating $2.17 billion of revenue and $377 million of gross profit, which increased 502% and 162% year over year, respectively.


Excluding bitcoin, Cash App revenue was $416 million for the fourth quarter and $1.40 billion for the full year of 2020, up 127% and 137% year over year, respectively.


The company also said it has purchased 3,318 bitcoin for about $170 million. When added to its prior purchase of $50 million, its bitcoin holding now represents 5% of its total cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities.

“The investment is part of Square’s ongoing commitment to bitcoin, and the company plans to assess its aggregate investment in bitcoin relative to its other investments on an ongoing basis,” it added.

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