Bitcoin payments app Strike launches in Europe

Bitcoin blockchain-based payments app Strike launched in Europe on Wednesday, allowing users in the region to buy, sell, and withdraw bitcoin (BTC).

The company, which recently expanded to Africa, is also operational in Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Customers can check availability in their local iOS or Android app store, as some countries are excluded from the expansion.

As the third-largest economy globally, Europe offers potential for bitcoin adoption, according to a Strike press release. The Chicago-based company, led by entrepreneur Jack Mallers, initially launched in the U.S. in 2020. Similar to Cash App and PayPal, Strike enables global money transfers but uses the Bitcoin blockchain, which it claims makes transactions faster and cheaper.

European users can transact directly with euros via SEPA, the region’s payment unified system, and choose to receive funds in bitcoin, euros, or, in some regions, Tether’s USDT stablecoin. Built on the Lightning Network, a second-layer Bitcoin payment solution, Strike promises reduced transaction times to mere seconds.

Founder Jack Mallers stated that Strike’s European rollout extends the app’s reach to nearly 100 countries. The Lightning Network underpinning Strike supports nearly instantaneous and private peer-to-peer micropayments.

River Financial, a Bitcoin-only financial services firm, reported having between 279,000 and 1.1 million monthly active users on the Lightning Network as of September 2023. Despite facing criticism, Mallers advocates for the Lightning Network’s ability to transform monetary transactions in a way that mirrors the internet’s impact on communication.

In 2022, Strike raised $80 million to support its international expansion. Earlier this year, it launched bitcoin services in Africa, providing local fiat on- and off-ramps along with the ability to trade bitcoin and USDT.

Mallers noted that while Strike operates in nearly 100 countries, its full suite of products is not available in all locations, including New York. In Latin America, many regions only have access to debit-card bitcoin purchases. Strike charges a 3.9% fee for these transactions, which Mallers attributed mainly to costs associated with Visa.