Strike – a Bitcoin payments company and remittance app – announced Friday that it is now available for download to over 3 billion people worldwide, including dozens of new countries.
The international expansion will allow wallet users in India, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and other countries to remit payments to one another in both USD and BTC.
Targeting the Global South
Speaking at Bitcoin 2023 in Miami, Strike CEO Jack Mallers explained that the company’s expansion efforts were primarily targeted toward those that needed better payment tools and technology the most.
“It’s a lot of the global south,” said Mallers. “The global south has a lot to do with Bitcoin – they have a lot to say for where the world is going.”
An inexhaustive list of 47 supported countries presented during Mallers’ presentation included Bhutan, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, New Zealand, Paraguay, and Uganda, alongside formerly announced expansions like Argentina, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana
Within those countries, Strike leverages the Bitcoin lightning network to enable fast and immediate Bitcoin and dollar-based remittances worldwide. Lightning is a layer 2 network that bypasses the fees of Bitcoin’s base chain, which can rise to levels that make small transactions infeasible when placed under stress.
Global outreach for Strike was a two-and-a-half-year effort, which partly involved working with regulators in El Salvador’s Bitcoin Office to create a licensing structure for Bitcoin companies to legally operate. The nation was the first besides the United States to support Strike, and is now home to the headquarters of Mallers’ company E4.
Maller stressed the importance of giving the global south access to a “money app,” rather than an existing “exchange” like Binance, FTX, or Coinbase, which encourages “speculative gambling.”
“We wanna compete with Binance,” said Mallers. “We know that the 3 billion people we’re serving – they got their first experience and their first Bitcoin from FTX, from Binance, from a lot of these exchanges that haven’t been totally proven to be trustworthy.”
Strike also now supports Lightning Address, which lets users set up an email-like identifier for sending them Bitcoin over lightning, rather than using a QR code.
Strike’s Previous Announcements
Announcements at the Bitcoin conference have become something of a tradition for Mallers: In June 2021, he announced that El Salvador would make Bitcoin legal tender, which was an international first at the time.
In 2022, Mallers revealed at the same conference that his company was partnering with Shopify, as well as NCR – the largest point-of-sale payment provider in the United States. This would ideally let users of Bitcoin’s lightning network pay with Bitcoin at popular stores like Walmart, McDonalds, Home Depot, and others.
Though unexpected obstacles have severely delayed the full rollout of those plans, the company integrated with POS giant Clover in January.