Crypto app Strike announced a major expansion of its services on Thursday, powered by a new partnership with payment processing platform Checkout.com, which will allow users in over 65 countries to purchase Bitcoin directly with their card of debt.
One of the main challenges facing cryptocurrency providers is allowing users to move from a fiat currency like the US dollar to a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, which requires payment methods such as wire transfers electronic and ACH transfers.
In an interview with FortuneStrike founder and CEO Jack Mallers said Strike’s long-term goal is to be the “Bitcoin Company for Earth”, with global payments as a core feature.
Rise to power
Crypto’s innovation was to create payment rails that operated 24/7 and without the friction of a banking system separated by international borders. Ideally, anyone could send any amount of money to anyone else at any time.
The problem, of course, is that people must own cryptocurrencies first. For most people, this property comes from on-ramps like exchanges or wallets, where users purchase Bitcoin with fiat currency.
Even if someone owns Bitcoin, its capacity as a real currency is limited, and few merchants around the world accept it as payment. As a result, crypto platforms also require exits to exchange the tokens for fiat currency.
Founded in 2019, Strike was limited by financial restrictions that would allow users to buy and sell Bitcoin. While its application is available for download In over 65 countries, users are limited to trading Bitcoin and stablecoin Tether with each other, with only certain customers able to trade in fiat currency.
Strike, which raised an $80 million funding round in September 2022 led by Bitcoin-focused asset manager Ten31, has over the past year introduced new products to expand fiat on- and off-ramps, including understood his Send worldwide, where users in the United States can send dollars to different markets like Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and the Philippines. Recipients receive the transfer in their own local currency, with Bitcoin serving as an intermediary. Strike’s long-term goal is to facilitate cross-border payments, or remittances, between countries around the world using Bitcoin.
The partnership with Checkout.com enables a new payment rail for Strike, allowing more users to buy and sell Bitcoin using the app. Users outside the United States will now also be able to make cross-currency payments via the Send Worldwide feature.
Checkout.com has worked with crypto companies before, although cut ties with the Binance exchange in August over money laundering and compliance concerns.
Talk with FortuneMallers said Checkout.com provides a card network gateway, meaning it brokers relationships with people like Visa And MasterCard. Checkout.com itself does not perform fiat-to-Bitcoin conversions, but rather will serve as an alternative payment rail to wire transfers, ACH, and card processing already available in the United States, opening the on-ramp Bitcoin to users around the world.
Mallers said Bitcoin purchases and withdrawals would not be subject to daily limits outside of its typical fraud prevention system, which monitors new users and large withdrawals, although he stressed that all prices will be blocked by transactions even if they are delayed.
The launch still comes at a time of turmoil for the crypto industry. Strike guard moved– or holding its crypto assets – internally in June after the bankruptcy of Prime Trust, its former custodian.
Confidence in the crypto ecosystem was also shaken by the trial of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who was sentenced by a federal jury on seven criminal counts in early November related to the collapse of his crypto exchange.
With young crypto phenoms like Bankman-Fried and Terra’s Do Kwon exposed as fraudsters, Mallers, 29, said Strike’s commitment to Bitcoin and regulation is only driving its expansion.
“As more and more companies around the world go bankrupt and go to jail, the demand increases because it’s almost like a last man standing game,” Mallers said. Fortune.