A new generation of moves came from card giant Visa for Bitcoin (BTC) payments. Zap, a Visa-backed Lightning Network payment initiative through the Fintech Fast Track program, announced the Strike Global solution, a payment and money transfer application using Bitcoin second layer technology.
The announcement by CEO Jack Mallers highlighted the differences between standard nominal transfer mechanisms and the Lightning-based mechanism in Strike Global. Mallers has focused on remittances, a multi-billion dollar process that still goes through brokers, mostly paying expensive transaction fees.
Strike Global uses Lightning Network for payments, though not much different from financial technology applications. Thus, payments are completed at a fraction of the cost of real-time and traditional payment methods.
Strike Global offers two types of transfer alternatives depending on the buyer’s location. Strike allows users to send payments without the hassle of Bitcoin (BTC) for countries with a developed banking system. It also automatically withdraws money from the user’s account and converts it to BTC and then converts it back to the recipient’s fiat and banking system.
Because national exchanges are often integrated into local banking systems, using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies provides much cheaper conversion compared to cross-border banking.
Strike allows users to keep their money in Bitcoin or Tether (USDT) for countries without advanced banking systems. Thus, the cryptocurrency can then be converted into local cash or fiat currency with workarounds such as Bitcoin ATMs or LocalBitcoins. Strike simplifies the underlying exchange processes to make the experience similar to other financial technology applications.
The startup partnered with Bittrex to attract users of the exchange to Strike and the Lightning Network. The startup hopes to complete private and open beta tests in the first quarter of 2021 and issue Strike Visa cards in the US. In the second quarter, he hopes to issue his cards in the European Union and the UK.
It will exit as businesses increase their adoption of new Bitcoin technologies. Kraken pledged Lightning integration in 2021, while Binance recently added SegWit address support for Bitcoin.