Apr 24, 2024 - Business

Bitcoin-focused payments app Strike opens in Europe

Illustration of the Strike logo with the circular part made up from the EU stars.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Strike, the bitcoin-focused payments app, is now in Europe.

Why it matters: Strike is built atop the Lightning Network, a so-called layer 2 Bitcoin payments solution that promises to use blockchain to reduce transaction speeds down to seconds.

  • Strike's rollout in Europe puts the app in nearly 100 countries, founder Jack Mallers said.

Between the lines: The Lightning Network facilitates peer-to-peer micropayments, allowing people to send bitcoin between themselves almost instantly, and privately — making it harder to track activity.

  • River Financial, a Bitcoin-only financial services firm, estimated that there were between 279K and 1.1 million monthly active Lightning users as of Sep. 2023.

The big picture: While Lightning has its detractors, Strike founder Mallers is known for saying the protocol could do for money "what the internet did for communication."

Strike, which raised $80 million in funding in 2022, has been expanding to markets outside of the U.S. lately.

  • It opened its suite of bitcoin services to countries in Africa earlier this year — offering local fiat on- and off-ramps, the ability to buy and sell bitcoin as well as the stablecoin usdt.
  • Mallers said operations in Nigeria are fine; other firms', not so much.

Flashback: Last year, Strike launched in Mexico and also established headquarters in El Salvador to boost its presence in Latin America, as part of a mission to take its business global.

Reality check: While Strike is in almost 100 countries, Strike's full suite of products aren't available everywhere. Strike is also not in New York.

  • "A lot of the Latin America region" only has access to debit-card bitcoin purchases, according to Mallers.

By the numbers: Strike charges a 3.9% fee for those on-ramps; Mallers said it mostly goes to Visa.

  • There are trading fees too, tiered, by geography and also by volume, he said.
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