From the LA Times:
Square Inc. is making a significant step toward realizing its larger ambition of cashing in on commerce, not just payments, with the launch of an online marketplace where businesses can sell such things as handmade jewelry and yoga classes. This is an ambitious next step in Square's efforts to harness the "informal economy," UC Irvine anthropology professor Bill Maurer said. Small businesses across the country that sell merchandise in pop-up shops or teach piano lessons have been using Square's mobile payment technology, which basically enables anyone to accept credit card payments. Now Square is giving these businesses a marketplace that could drive sales on the Web, Maurer said. The result could bring many more of these bricks-and-mortar merchants not yet swept up by EBay and Etsy into the digital age, Maurer said. That includes people who hawk their services on Craigslist or rely on old-fashioned barter networks. "Square is basically taking all of this existing informal economic activity that is all willy-nilly, scattershot stuff and gathering it all up into a digital platform with a payment system," Maurer said. "That lays the foundation for a whole separate economic sector."

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