Yo. Today I am thrilled to release Cashback by Strike! On January 20th, 2020 I published “Announcing Strike by Zap” alongside our private BETA. Since then, we have announced our partnership with VISA, released strike.me, launched our BETA publicly in the US, launched on the App Store/Play Store/Chrome Store, and onboarded thousands of users. However, as I’ve stated before, we are just getting started and have much more to come.
Today, we are releasing Cashback by Strike, our first Strike Rewards program. Cashback is about as conceptually simple as it gets. You simply scan, confirm, and earn cash that is instantly available in your Strike account.
To understand our reasoning behind Cashback by Strike, we have to first understand who foots the bill for processing payments in today’s world. Today, when you swipe your credit card, merchants pay, and it’s not cheap either. Popular credit card companies such as Mastercard, charge anywhere from 1.29% + $0.05 to 2.64% + $0.10 per transaction. Many businesses, mostly small businesses or those in underprivileged industries like cannabis, are charged much more. For example, online payment processing giant Stripe charges 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction and in industries like cannabis, payment processors charge upwards of 10% at times. Not cheap.
There was nearly $4 trillion spent using credit cards alone in 2018. The average credit card processing fee ranges from about 1.3% to 3.4%, and this doesn’t include the payment processor’s cut. We can safely estimate a lower bound of $52,000,000,000 in credit card processing fees alone paid by merchants (likely closer to $140,800,000,000). That’s a lot of money.
My family owns a cannabis business in Colorado. Payment processors in the cannabis industry charge between 5%-15%, and are known to be unreliable and unstable. For example, ours was recently down for two months leaving us unable to process any credit/debit card payments. This leaves businesses vulnerable, with no control over how to address those vulnerabilities. We desperately needed a way to process non-cash payments, and preferably would’ve like to engage with a partner with low processing fees. Luckily for us, we were busy building exactly that. Strike’s processing fees are as follows: 0.00% + $0.00. As in zero dollars, zero cents, zero percent. Oh, and it’s catered towards contactless, non-cash payments.
My parents began accepting payments with Strike and BTCPay Server in December of 2019. Every time someone paid us with a credit card, we got charged 10%. Every time someone paid us over Lightning, it was free. As a business, when our customers paid us over Lightning, they were doing us a favor! They were using this permissionless, peer to peer, value transfer protocol that allowed us to accept money from our customers without charge.
The issue was incentivizing users to use something like Strike to pay us. Credit cards have been around forever. They’re the norm. They’re easy. Not to mention bitcoin payments are traditionally hard to make. You have to own the asset, you take on volatility risk, you take on tax consequences, you have to custody the asset, and so on. With Strike, we made a point to put all of those concerns behind us. The problem remained, however; how do we incentivize you to use Strike over your credit card?
At my parent’s store, we started to offer 5%-10% discounts on our cannabis products if the customer paid with Strike. How could we afford that? Well, if our customer used Strike, we were processing their payment for free. We were saving 5%-10% as a business when customers used Strike, so we wanted to give them an incentive for doing so, and historically, cash has worked well as a motivator.
This created a brilliant network effect. The word was getting spread throughout Boulder, CO that if you download and use this new app to buy cannabis, you get a cash reward! We saw mainstream, non-technical users migrating away from the credit card processing networks and onto the Bitcoin/Lightning Network. Did they even know they were doing so? Did they know they were using Bitcoin as a settlement rail? No. Probably not. But they were.
So, the idea is simple, why wouldn’t we replicate this all over the world? If you are a merchant out there why wouldn’t you use the Lightning Network as a settlement rail and reward users who pay you over Lightning? Why pay processing fees when you don’t have to?
How It Works
It doesn’t get simpler than Cashback by Strike. As a user, you simply have to:
- Scan a QR code
- Confirm the payment
- Earn your cashback
In an effort to control the rollout of Cashback, we’ve decided to launch with four merchants to start and will scale up to several dozens over the coming weeks.
To start, we have:
- BitcoinShirt.co, a bitcoin-only online apparel store. Strike users get 5% Cashback.
- Bitrefill, offering gift cards for over 1,000 businesses. Strike users get 5% Cashback.
- CryptoCloaks, a bitcoin-only online shop. Strike users get 5% Cashback.
- Lightnite, a Lightning Network powered video game that allows you to spend and earn bitcoin inside of the game. Strike users get 15% Cashback.
Here I buy a $50 Uber gift card from Bitrefill and get 5% Cashback. Easy as 1, 2, 3.
Over the coming weeks, we will continue to launch with more merchants. You can find all of the Strike Cashback merchants on our website.
As I stated above, this is only the beginning. We will onboard more merchants over the coming weeks. However, the bigger idea here is to create a network effect with incentives for consumers and merchants to benefit from using Bitcoin as a settlement rail.
If you’re a business looking to use Bitcoin/Lightning as a settlement rail, accept USD for no processing fees, and would like to be a part of what we’re building, you can contact us firstname.lastname@example.org. We are now accepting merchants to be a part of our private BETA as we look to roll out our merchant services in the near future. You don’t have to be highly technical, take on volatility risk, create tax headaches, custody a new digital asset, and so on to benefit from Bitcoin as a merchant anymore. You don’t have to foot the bill for the world of commerce and pay large processing fees anymore either. With Strike, you get the best of both worlds.
Furthermore, are you a business that wants to offer Cashback to consumers? As a consumer, is there a business you’d like to receive Cashback with Strike from? Any merchant that would like to be part of our Cashback program can do just that. Send a note to us at email@example.com and we will get you integrated and launched.
Alright y’all, ending it here for now. With Cashback by Strike, everyone wins. Merchants save on their bottom line, customers get rewarded cash when they spend. The world of commerce migrates towards settling on a global, permissionless, peer to peer, value transfer protocol that is interoperable with wallets and applications from all walks of life.
Strike is now on the App Store and rolling at a scary pace. Bitcoin works. Lightning works. Strike works. Look out below. We’ll continue releasing features and updates at a record pace. You can expect on-chain support, Strike in markets outside the US, our Strike VISA card, Strike merchant services, and much more over the coming months.
As always, I want to thank you all for your continued support. I love you all like family and your support gives us the motivation day in and day out to keep our head down and build. We frequently get support tickets like this:
Just wanted to say I love the app and keep it up Strike team!
It really means the world and goes to show the bond we share as a community. Keep the feedback coming, we’re always listening. We do what we do for you.
You can contact me @JackMallers on Twitter or firstname.lastname@example.org via email. We now have an unbelievably kind and talented customer support team that can be reached at email@example.com. Feel free to join our slack if you’d like to be more interactive with the Zap community or discuss Strike.
Back to work we go. You ain’t seen nothing yet.