Strike, a popular bitcoin (BTC) banking service by US-based Bitcoin Lightning startup Zap, aims to have their Strike Cards rolled out in countries on two continents in the first half of 2021.
Per the rollout plan as presented by Zap founder Jack Mallers, Strike will be issuing the Strike Card in the US already in Q1 2021. After that, they plan to issue Strike Cards in the EU and UK in Q2 2021. Also in the second quarter, more fiat currency pairs will be added to Strike.
The card is described by the website as “a real debit card with real rewards for the real world.” In June, it was announced that Zap was admitted to Visa’s Fast Track Program and that it would be launching its card within a year. Per Forbes, Mallers said that he was working with Visa on several projects, but that only the credit card is public, and that the company is contractually obligated to launch a card within 12 months.
“So we’re coming out with the Strike card, traditional debit card tied to Strike. Strike will be interoperable with the Visa Direct network, and you get an account routing number. So Strike will act as a vertical bank,” said Mallers in a recent The Investor’s Podcast Network’s Bitcoin Fundamentals episode. “So we can do anything a traditional bank can do for you. And you just line up your direct deposit to Strike just like anything else. And within your settings, you can say, hey, of every paycheck, I’ll take 15% in bitcoin, I’ll take 20% in bitcoin, and you treat it like your savings account.”
The founder further added that when it comes to the Visa partnership, “the vision for this is simple. [L]et’s say my local grocer doesn’t yet work in an interoperable fashion with the Lightning Network. I should still be able to spend that USD 5,000 balance [that is my Strike balance]. And so it’s our bridge to the rest of the world. [They] connect us to the rest of the world. And there’s a lot of cool things we could do with it, different rewards or whatever else.”
He added that Strike has “no concrete plans of Bitcoin rewards.”
In the same post in which Mallers discussed the cards, he announced Strike Global, stating that Strike has partnered with Bittrex Global and will be launching in over 200 countries. It has added support for tether (USDT), USD coin (USDC), EUR, GBP, and CHF, among other options, adding that all Bittrex users, more than a million of them, will be onboarded onto Strike and Lightning. All this is planned for the first quarter.
By the time the cards are issued in Europe, Stike aims to establish a Bitcoin-native neo-bank; partnerships with major exchanges and companies, including Bittrex, CMT, and Visa; instant and free international fund transfers; stablecoin support; Strike Payday, and others. “I have more partnerships and products to announce and release,” Mallers wrote.
Strike is an application that allows users to make Lightning payments with either their bank account or debit car, without needing anything else, said an earlier post. “The combination of the Bitcoin network, Lightning network, and Strike allows anyone to send any amount of money, at any time, for zero cost,” added the latest announcement. SWIFT, for example, couldn’t accomplish the same thing, as it’s “only possible because we now have an asset and open monetary network that can achieve cash finality anywhere in the world, at any time, on any day, at no variable cost, and has 24/7/365 liquidity in any currency pair you need.”
In early July, Strike’s public beta was announced, during which the product got “well into 5-figure registered users and currently process millions of dollars in volume per month.” Strike’s US rollout has been “an immense success,” said the founder.
Strike is being tested in the US, EU, and UK, while the El Salvador BETA is also being deployed, and “the country with the most user signups will be our next to launch,” concluded Mallers.
Also, as reported, Bitcoin proponent Russell Okung, a Pro Bowl tackle for the Carolina Panthers, said he’s become the first National Football League player to collect 50% of his USD 13m salary in BTC using Strike. It facilitates payments that are translated from ordinary currency into BTC.