Strike raised $80 million in funding to revamp BTC payments for top financial institutions, marketplaces, and merchants.
Jack Mallers, the CEO and founder of Strike, pointed out:
“We’re moving full speed ahead not just to integrate Strike’s revolutionary payments with leading merchants, but globally, with a variety of businesses and partners to innovate and deliver on more financial inclusion.”
As a leading digital payments platform built on Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, Strike recently launched its flagship API meant to render instant, cash-final, and global payments by eradicating interchange and other processing fees.
Some investors taking part in the $80 million funding included the University of Wyoming, Ten31, and Washington University in St. Louis, among others.
Since Strike is poised to revamp the Landscape’s payments and financial services, Grant Gilliam believes it will offer everyone a more inclusive, innovative, and efficient financial experience.
The co-founder and managing partner of Ten31 added:
“Strike and Ten31 have a shared vision for the positive impact bitcoin can have on the world and are mutually aligned on accelerating its adoption. It was therefore a natural fit to partner with Strike as its lead investor.”
Strike intends to use the capital to boost growth beyond its commerce API, enhance existing partnerships, and launch new collaborations. For instance, the digital payments platform intends to roll out new product lines that will take the hassle of building in-house solutions for large businesses and financial institutions.
“Businesses and institutions want a groundbreaking experience sending payments as well. We can empower businesses to move money in ways networks such as card networks and SWIFT can’t, and we pay these partners in the form of commissions to do so, which makes it an exciting innovation for everyone. We’ve seen a lot of demand here.”
Having clocked more than two million app downloads, it seems the sky’s the limit for Strike, given that it permits users to send dollars instantly and feeless globally.
Meanwhile, Strike enabled Shopify merchants to have the option of receiving BTC off-chain payments, which are readily confirmed, faster, and cheaper than that processed on-chain, Blockchain.News reported.
Merchants on Shopify, a global e-commerce giant, will have the option of receiving Bitcoin (BTC) off-chain payments through the Bitcoin Lightning Network after sealing a deal with Strike.
As a leading digital payments platform built on Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, Strike will enable Shopify merchants to receive off-chain transactions, which are readily confirmed, faster, and cheaper than those processed on-chain or Bitcoin mainnet.
Jack Mallers, the founder and CEO of Strike, noted that the strategic partnership would easily enable Shopify merchants to accept Bitcoin payments as dollars.
“The Lightning Network is a global payments network that lowers costs, enhances speed, drives innovation, improves financial inclusion, and brings the power of choice to consumers and merchants.”
Through Strike’s integration, Shopify merchants will be able to expand their existing payment options. As a result, they will utilise the potential purchasing power among global markets.
Per the announcement:
“Strike’s integration also allows Shopify merchants to generate savings through low-cost payment processing.”
The partnership is also seen as a stepping stone towards reducing various complexities merchants face when holding BTC, given that their Bitcoin payments will be instantly converted to dollars.
With the Lightning Network (LN) being a layer two scaling solution on the BTC network, micropayment channels are used to enhance the blockchain’s capacity to undertake transactions more efficiently.
A previous study by Arcane Research noted that the Lightning Network could radically change the business model of content providers in gaming, video, audio, and many more categories by providing a structure where continuous micropayments are made.
Therefore, Arcane Research foresaw a situation where the Lightning Network would transit from online services to everyday use.
Strike’s digital wallet has become the fifth most popular finance app in Argentina within a week of its launch.
The firm, led by hoodie-wearing CEO Jack Mallers, rolled out its crypto payment services for the Argentinian market on Jan 12. Strike is famed for enabling Bitcoin (BTC) payments via the Lightning network, particularly in El Salvador.
However, according to local media and user reports, the firm’s app in Argentina reportedly currently only supports the use of Tether’s stable coin USDT for transfers via Lightning. Users are able to purchase Bitcoin via the app though, and send it to a third party wallet.
Mallers tweeted on Jan. 18 that Strike’s app is currently ranked as the fifth-highest finance app and the top new app overall on the Argentinian Apple app store, as he emphasized the importance of the Bitcoin network:
“The best monetary network in human history is here, it’s open, and will disrupt the world quicker than anyone thinks. Open networks win.”
Mallers stated earlier this week that Strike is working to bring additional BTC support and features to the app soon, noting that the company is taking the “exact same” same approach to El Salvador.
Since launch we’ve already been approached by many new partners.
We have meetings next week to find sufficient partners and are working on bringing the #Bitcoin tab and other features in the US to Argentina, one step at a time.
The exact same approach we’ve taken in El Salvador
— Jack Mallers (@jackmallers) January 15, 2022
Neither Strike nor Mallers highlighted the use of Tether as part of the company’s initial announcement, however the CEO did note that the app would enable the Argentinian people to “hold a stable cash balance that can be spent both instantly and with no fees.”
According to a rough translation of a Jan. 11 report from local media outlet iProUP, the terms of service for Strike’s app states that it is partnered with the Bittrex exchange for asset custody and fund transfers, and specifies that the app will provide “a currency that users can use to protect themselves” from inflation.
“Although the solution is being promoted as being based on BTC technology, it is actually based on the Ethereum network, as it is the Tether USD (USDT) stablecoin, under the ERC-20 token technology standard,” the publication wrote.
Related: Uruguay reportedly installs its first Bitcoin ATM
A local Strike user named “Nico” on Twitter stated that he able to receive Bitcoin via the app but it was instantly converted into USDT, while Argentinian crypto Journalist Luis David Esparragoza responded the same thing happens on the reverse transaction, where users send USDT to Bittrex which is then converted in BTC.
One function that reportedly supports Bitcoin directly in Argentina, is the BTC tipping feature on Twitter, with Mallers alluding to such via a screen recorded via on Twitter last week.
Cointelegraph has reached out to Mallers for comment regarding the use of USDT, and will update the article if he responds.
There’s no denying that 2021 was the Lightning Network’s year. What does the future hold, though? If the objective is to onboard the next billion people, the network needs work and fine-tuning. To grab the bull by the horns, The Human Rights Foundation and Strike set upthree 1 BTC bounties.
The bounties will go to the first person or team to develop an anonymous Lightning tip jar, a tokenless way to peg BTC to dollars, or a privacy-focused wallet that supports some kind of Chaumian e-cash feature. In a Twitter Spaces conversation about the program, they named it The Lightning Development Initiative.
A catchy name that we’ll use from now on to refer to all of this. This fourth edition of Lightning Speed is all about the future. Let’s explore the three ideas and the new information that we have about each of them.
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The Lightning Development Initiative In Twitter Spaces
Among the speakers were Strike’s Jack Mallers, The Human Rights Foundation’s Alex Gladstein, Bitcoin Magazine’s Christian Keroles AKA CK Snarks, and Tales From The Crypt’s Matt Odell. It took place December 29th and Bitcoin Magazine hosted it. A Twitter user named Gigi summarized it for us.
🚨 A thread summarizing the Lightning Développement Initiative Space ⬇️
3 amazingly interesting topic related to the bounties were discussed.
I’m so bullish on Lightning⚡ it hurts. Very grateful to have these people on our side ❤️👑
let’s look at my notes 🧵 pic.twitter.com/PRs9cohPaN
— Gigi ⚡🇨🇵 (@GuerillaV2) December 29, 2021
Bounty #1: An Anonymous Tip Jar
In our sister site Bitcoinist’s report, they described the challenge as follows:
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“Can you create a Lightning tip jar that doesn’t reveal any information about the parties involved? That’s the first task. How to receive completely anonymous donations. According to Bitcoin Mag, the “goal is to enable anyone to use free and open-source software (FOSS) to print a QR code that can be used for receiving Lightning payments privately. Importantly, “The QR code should not reveal the public key or IP address of the user.”
In the Lightning Development Initiative’s report, we learned that this has to do with the two competing protocols, Bolt12 and lnurl. Jack Mallers “pointed out the absolute need for interoperability on LN and that even though lnurl might not be “optimal” right now, the market will eventually decide what open standard they prefer to use. He thinks that currently UX is a major focus for the LN community and we should make peace with the fact that there will be competition between solutions.”
Rockstar pointed out that this debate around lnurl vs bolt12 will have huge implications for the future but that he’s glad that there’s now an active discussion on the matter.
Jack added that contrary to the Bitcoin main chain, we can somewhat afford to fuck up on LN..
— Gigi ⚡🇨🇵 (@GuerillaV2) December 29, 2021
Mallers put forth another interesting idea, “contrary to the Bitcoin main chain, we can somewhat afford to f**k up on the Lightning Network. As long as the Bitcoin monetary policy is not threatened then we can freely fiddle on top of the protocol via Lightning.”
BTC price chart for 01/14/2022 on Bitfinex | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
Bounty #2: Stablecoin On Lightning Without A Token
Bitcoinist described this one as:
“The second challenge seems to be even more difficult, at least on a conceptual level. The HRF and Strike want a wallet that enables “anyone to “peg” an amount of bitcoin to U.S. dollars without needing an exchange or another token.” That’s right, without a centralized entity. And relying only on sats and bitcoin.”
Gigi summarizes why the world needs this:
“The goal is to allow people to access dollars without a single point of failure. Further down the line, as Bitcoin becomes less volatile, these people can use btc, but until then there’s massive demand for holding value in dollars. The tether market cap is proof of this.”
It serve an important humanitarian use case. We need to create the foundation for this new financial system.@Chris_Stewart_5 >> maybe it can be done with DLC’s? Not using a token but rather something representing price exposure (think Eurodollar system). (oracles?)
— Gigi ⚡🇨🇵 (@GuerillaV2) December 29, 2021
Bounty #3: A Chaumian E-Cash Feature
First of all,Investopediadefines Chaumian e-cash as:
“eCash was a digital-based system that facilitated the transfer of funds anonymously. A pioneer in cryptocurrency, its goal was to secure the privacy of individuals that use the Internet for micropayments. eCash was created by Dr. David Chaum under his company, DigiCash, in 1990.“
So, once again, anonymity is the priority. AsAlex Gladstein put itwhen announcing the bounties, they’re “for the first open-source, non-custodial, non-KYC Lightning wallets to ship features requested by dissidents worldwide.” Also, take into consideration the words of security expertBrian Trollz’s words, “Bitcoin without privacy is nothing but a surveillance system.”
Bitcoin without privacy is nothing but a surveillance system.
— Shino (@brian_trollz) January 13, 2022
What does Gigi have for us on this topic? “We need a sort of Chaumian e-cash, extremely easy to use for the Plebs and accessible. Maybe the solution is a federated one, making it harder to regulate.” He then quotes Jack Mallers again, “There’s going to be a singular standard for the internet of money (Bitcoin). Many will compete on top of BTC so we need “interoperability to the standard.”
Matt: We need to make it very easy to use because experience shows us that if it’s somewhat challenging (coinjoins etcc) people won’t bother to protect their privacy (goddam idiot normies 🤡)
— Gigi ⚡🇨🇵 (@GuerillaV2) December 29, 2021
Conclusion: The Future Is Bright
Developers, teams, companies, anyone can earn the Lighting Development Initiative’s bounties. The non-profit OpenSats will serve as the judge. They are all open for the whole year. If by the end of 2022 no one has claimed them, the money will go to the Human Rights Foundation’s Bitcoin Development Fund on January 1st. Which is fair. Especially considering they gave 425 million Sats tothese worthy organizations and individuals.
For more information and detailsread Bitcoinist’s original report.
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