Leading Bitcoin payments app, Strike, recently announced its ambitious plans to expand its services to more than 65 countries worldwide. The move comes as Strike aims to provide global payment and cross-border money transfer services using Bitcoin and the Lightning Network for faster transactions.
Strike, previously available only in the United States and El Salvador, has undergone a significant update, introducing a new user interface and the addition of support for holding funds in Bitcoin (BTC) and Tether (USDT). The app’s CEO, Jack Mallers, made the expansion announcement during his speech at the Bitcoin 2023 conference held in Miami Beach, Florida.
Mallers highlighted Strike’s goal to offer improved payment tools and technology, particularly in regions with a greater need. He emphasized the global south’s influence on the world’s future and the role Bitcoin can play in those areas. Mallers expressed the company’s mission to provide people in the global south with access to a secure “money app” instead of relying on existing exchanges that may involve speculative gambling.
“We think there are billions of people that want a money app with those characteristics and capabilities contrasted to a clouded world of crypto exchanges and hidden, unregistered licensing regimes and 1,000 different coins,”
Relocation to El Salvador
Strike’s decision to expand globally comes amid regulatory challenges in the United States, where it is unable to offer services in New York due to regulatory restrictions. In response to growing anti-crypto sentiments in the US, Strike has chosen to relocate its global headquarters to El Salvador. This aligns with El Salvador’s proactive approach to cryptocurrency adoption, including recognizing Bitcoin as legal tender.
Mallers discussed El Salvador’s successful implementation of Bitcoin as a legal tender during the conference. He highlighted that merchant adoption is not the sole measure of success and cited increased tourism as an indicator of El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption. Mallers praised El Salvador’s regulatory framework and its efforts to attract technological innovations in the crypto space.
Strike’s global expansion became possible through a two-and-a-half-year effort, involving collaboration with regulators at El Salvador’s Bitcoin Office to establish a licensing structure for legal operation of Bitcoin companies. El Salvador became the first country, apart from the United States, to support Strike, which now serves as the headquarters for Mallers’ company, E4.
Future Plans and Financial Inclusion
While the initial expansion allows users in new markets to receive Bitcoin, Strike plans to introduce additional features by the end of the year, including a debit card. In markets outside the US, Strike will enable U.S. dollar payments through Tether. The company aims to tap into a potential market of nearly 3 billion people, with a long-term goal of reaching the entire global population.
Strike’s move to El Salvador and the broader adoption of cryptocurrencies signify a growing trend toward embracing digital assets as a means of fostering financial inclusion and driving economic growth in countries where traditional financial systems may be less accessible or reliable. The expansion of Strike’s services and the adoption of Bitcoin in El Salvador demonstrate a shift in the global financial landscape, with potential implications for the future of financial transactions worldwide.