Sep 27, 2022 - Economy & Business

Payments shop Strike raises $80 million in Bitcoin maximalist flex

Illustration of a bitcoin surrounded by hundred dollar bills.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Strike, the mobile payments app that facilitates instant transactions via blockchain, has raised another $80 million in fundraising in a show of Bitcoin maximalist strength.

Why it matters: Strike is making the cumbersome digital asset "go" by using the Lightning Network, a layer 2 that enables faster and cheaper transactions — that its CEO Jack Mallers thinks could eventually make the crypto world more accessible to normal people.

Details: The Series B funding round was led by Ten31, a venture capital firm that only invests in bitcoin-native companies. (Thus named after the publication date of the Bitcoin whitepaper penned by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto.)

  • Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Wyoming, as well as existing investors, participated.
  • Of note: Recall Mallers and Strike were instrumental in enabling El Salvador's Nayib Bukele bitcoin vision, though, it isn't exactly the best "crypto is working" example.

The big picture: Bitcoin's Lightning Network is being embraced by others including trading platform Robinhood and Jack Dorsey's Block, previously known as Square.

What they're saying: “We’re moving full speed ahead not just to integrate Strike’s revolutionary payments with leading merchants, but globally,” Mallers said in a statement, touting financial inclusion.

  • Strike expects to use the fresh capital to continue on its growth spurt, expand on existing partnerships and launch new ones, the company said.

Between the lines: Strike struck a deal with e-commerce juggernaut Shopify that same month, in a step that would allow more U.S. merchants and customers to transact using their app.

  • The firm also partnered with point-of-sale provider NCR and payments company Blackhawk to smooth the integration.

What others are saying: Strike could eventually rival even Visa, according to a Morgan Stanley report published in April.

  • Yes, but: The Lightning Network has its share of issues.

The bottom line: Payments is one of the few crypto categories still securing funding, in spite of the crypto winter and markets mayhem.

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