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Bitcoin-based payments network and financial application Strike has announced that it is expanding its Bitcoin Lightning Network-powered money transfer services to the Philippines.
The announcement sees Strike make its foray into one of the world’s largest remittance markets, valued at a staggering $35 million.
Expanding Into The Philippines
Digital payments firm Strike has announced that it is expanding its international money transfer services to the country of the Philippines. According to a press release, the remittance service called Send Globally is set to be available in the Philippines as early as Tuesday itself. The service is powered by the Bitcoin Lightning Network and enables faster and cheaper international payments compared to existing methods in the traditional financial system. Strike CEO Jack Mallers announced on Twitter,
“Strike users can now send US Dollars direct to banks and mobile money accounts in the Philippines!”
Users of the service can send funds through the service, which can then be received in the recipient’s bank account in the local currency. Mallers stated,
“The Philippines is one of the biggest remitting markets in the world, especially from the United States. As far as the technology we build, it’s one of the lowest-hanging fruits — international payments are a huge pain and always have been. There’s been incremental innovation from SWIFT and Western Union, but it’s still incredibly difficult.”
According to data by Statista, in 2021 alone, around $12.7 billion in cash remittances were sent by US-based Filipinos to their home country.
Traditional cross-border money transfer services are cumbersome, with banks taking several days to transfer the funds from one account to the recipient account. Thanks to the Lightning Network, Strike is able to use instant, low-cost micropayments, enabling the facilitation of billions of transactions per second through the platform. The Strike app also allows users to transfer USD into local currencies, such as the Philippine peso in the case of the Philippines, at extremely low fees. Maller stated,
“None of our users have to touch Bitcoin. The aspiration of the business is to hide Bitcoin under the hood” so users could benefit from its payment network.”
The Strike app converts dollars into BTC and sends a Lightning payment to the partner in the recipient country. In the Philippines, Strike has partnered with Bitcoin payments firm Pouch.ph. This is then converted to the local currency and sent to the recipient’s bank account. According to Mallers, the entire process is shielded from users so that they are spared the complexity of Bitcoin payments and can avoid any potential tax implications.
There’s all sorts of tax consequences involved – if I wanted to remit money from here to the Philippines, I have to tell the IRS about it. That’s ridiculous. We use the properties of Lightning under the hood. So our users don’t even know we’re using it. They’re just sending dollars and receiving pesos.”
Expansion Plans And Partnerships
Strike has already been in the news thanks to its work with El Salvador, which adopted Bitcoin as legal tender. Following El Salvador’s lead, we may see other countries such as Panama also adopt BTC as legal tender, where Strike could play a crucial role. Strike has stated that its goal is to disrupt the traditional remittance industry, which is plagued with high fees and slow processing times.
“When you think cross-border, you don’t think very fast, very cheap, and very good experience. We’re using Bitcoin’s Lightning Network under the hood to achieve some stuff that has never been possible before.”
Strike is also planning on expanding in other areas in Latin America and Africa, thanks to growing global demand. Mallers stated that Strike is seeing demand from areas in the United Kingdom and Europe and plans to add twenty new countries in the African region in February. Last month, Strike’s Send Globally saw its launch in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana.
Strike had also announced a partnership with payments provider Finserv to expand its services. The platform also raised $80 million in a Series B funding round to grow its payments solutions for marketplaces, merchants, and financial institutions. Strike also announced a partnership with Visa in 2022, offering users a reward card paired with its application. Companies such as Twitter have also enabled Bitcoin payments through the Lightning Network with Strike.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.