Strike Brings Lightning-Based Remittance Payments to Africa
Bitcoin payments platform Strike has now expanded to Africa, enabling instant and low-cost remittances to the continent by leveraging its new “Send Globally” feature.
The tool, available to all American Strike users, will offer initial coverage to Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana.
Bringing Bitcoin to Africa
As announced by Strike on Tuesday, the feature was launched in partnership with the African Bitcoin company Bitnob. Within the app, U.S.-based Strike users can immediately send money to an African recipient, where the funds will be converted into their relevant local currency and deposited into their bank, mobile money, or Bitnob account.
Strike claims this feature will improve the ease of payments in Africa, where banking services are extremely limited and cross-border payment options are few and far between. Strike CEO Jack Mallers specifically pointed to the high fees and service halts from incumbent payment providers as a primary benefit.
“High fees, slow settlement, and lack of innovation in cross-border payments have negatively impacted the developing world,” said Mallers. “Strike offers an opportunity for people to transfer their US dollars easily and instantly across borders.”
Bitnob CEO Bernard Parah added that the application will help financial institutions source USD liquidity more easily. “The current financial system isn’t set up in a way that ensures equal access for people and institutions from Africa,” he said.
Strike now helps Africa 🌍 receive instant, zero-fee remittance payments in local currency by using the technology benefits of #bitcoin ⚡️
"Payments cheaper and faster than anything you have ever seen"
> @jackmallers, speaking @AfroBitcoinOrgpic.twitter.com/L9gVcrlU1G
— Documenting ₿itcoin 📄 (@DocumentingBTC) December 6, 2022
Africa is known for being a world leader in Bitcoin and crypto adoption given the limitations of the legacy financial system across the continent. A KuCoin study released in April found that crypto had already reached 35% adoption in Nigeria, with over 17 million people having placed over half of their wealth in the asset class.
In June, a collection of human rights activists including Yeonmi Park petitioned congress on the importance of Bitcoin and crypto within the underdeveloped world. These countries, it argued, face issues like monetary colonialism, bank freezes, and exploitative remittance fees.
One of the letter’s signatories – Alex Gladstein – promoted Bitcoin again on Tuesday after the Central Bank of Africa announced that cash withdrawals at ATMs would be further reduced to just ₦20,000 per day in January 2023 – the equivalent of $45.00 USD.
The financial freedom of literally hundreds of millions of people is slipping away before our eyes
Time for Plan ₿ https://t.co/6OkjkX1ICM
— Alex Gladstein 🌋 ⚡ (@gladstein) December 6, 2022
Strike and the Developing World
Aside from the United States, Strike is focused on rolling out financial services to members of the global south that appear to need it most. These include remittance dependant nations like El Salvador and highly inflationary environments like Argentina.
The company focuses on utilizing the lightning network – Bitcoin’s off-chain scaling solution – to deliver instant global payments for both Bitcoin and fiat currencies.
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