Strike, a platform led by Jack Mallers that supports bitcoin (BTC) payments, is expanding to 65 global markets and relocating its global headquarters to El Salvador.
The company aims to provide a consumer-friendly money app that offers bitcoin and tether (USDT) transfers, emphasizing its bitcoin-first approach amid regulatory uncertainties in the United States. USDT is a stablecoin pegged to the USD.
Strike’s global expansion and consumer-focused approach
Strike claims to offer a seamless onboarding experience and aims to cater to billions of people seeking a user-friendly money app with the capabilities of BTC and USDT transfers.
By expanding to 65 countries, in addition to its existing operations in the United States, El Salvador, and Argentina, Strike intends to become a global crypto-powered platform.
The team says its decision to move its global headquarters to El Salvador was partly influenced by the country’s digital assets law, which established a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. Strike received one of the first licenses under this new regime, along with Bitfinex.
Crucially, the relationship between Strike’s CEO, Jack Mallers, and El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, played a role. Earlier, Mallers introduced Bukele at the Bitcoin Miami conference in 2021, where bitcoin was declared legal tender.
Despite initial setbacks in El Salvador’s experiment, Mallers believes the country found hope in bitcoin, citing increased tourism as evidence.
Strike’s focus now shifts to expanding its connections with banking services that facilitate the exchange of BTC for fiat currency.
While customers in the new markets can currently only receive bitcoin from other users, Strike plans to introduce new features, including a debit card, later this year.
Strike faces challenges related to network congestion and higher fees on bitcoin transactions due to increased demand. However, Mallers argues that bitcoin functions as intended and dismisses claims that congestion adversely affects emerging markets.
Earlier, Strike released the “Send Globally” functionality. This feature enables users to transfer USD and other currencies over the app using bitcoin as an intermediary. While promising, this service is currently limited to twelve countries in Africa, Central America, and Southeast Asia.
The company’s choice to hold USD balances in USDT has drawn criticism due to concerns about its accounting practices.
Mallers states that user demand from the Global South led to the decision to use USDT over alternatives like Circle’s USD Coin (USDC), which is perceived as more focused on American institutions.
As Strike faces challenges and works towards improving its services, the global expansion highlights the growing adoption and potential of bitcoin (BTC) cryptocurrencies as a means of payment on a global scale.