Announcing strike.me by Zap
Yo. Today I am extremely excited to release Strike’s latest feature, strike.me. A few months ago I announced Strike, an application that allows you to make Bitcoin and Lightning payments with your bank account or debit card. However, as I mentioned in my post, Strike is only the beginning.
Today, we are announcing strike.me, a social tipping platform that allows anyone in the world to accept tips. These tips are Lightning Network invoices, payable by any compatible wallet anywhere in the world. Payments are then on-the-fly auto-converted to cash in your account as the receiver.
Every Strike user has a strike.me page where you can customize your username, description, profile picture, and more.
With Strike, we use Bitcoin and Lightning for real-time, cheap, and global settlement. Lightning has this chicken and egg problem where users making payments, and merchants offering products, have this positive correlation; one has to inform the other. By providing real-world utility for those looking to participate in this new economy, we open up the world to use cases that quite frankly don’t exist yet. We are looking beyond helping people make Bitcoin and Lightning payments. There is much more to do with our infrastructure, and we’re just scratching the surface. With strike.me we introduce our first tool on the merchant and acquiring side, with many more to come.
So why start with tipping and why now?
We live in a world where various content distribution platforms live in the palm of our hands. Over recent years, this has resulted in consumer preferences shifting away from mediums like radio, TV, magazines, and newspapers and into newer mediums such as social media, blogs, apps, and the internet at large. In turn, this gave rise to the digital content creation market where monetizing the individual is a growing phenomenon and an exploding industry. We are seeing YouTubers, gamers, Instagram influencers, adult film actors/actresses, etc. become the brand.
But how are these people of the internet monetizing their content, their new-found audience, and more specifically, accepting payments?
The amount of content uploaded to the internet today is eye-opening and growing (with an expected compound and annual growth rate of 16.5%):
- Over 2 million blog posts are published on the Internet every day.
- 1 billion stories are shared through Facebook products (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) every day.
- Over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
Holy shit. That’s a lot of content. Who is consuming all of this content? Apparently an expansive, global, market. That’s who:
- There are 4.18 billion mobile Internet users worldwide.
- 100% of 18- to 29-year-olds are on the internet.
- The average Internet user spends 6.5 hours online every day.
Tips and donations are a popular, albeit new revenue model for independent content creators. In light of creators seeking alternative forms of compensation outside of advertising, the tipping economy has emerged as a viable solution. This is particularly important when considering a central third-party may have control over how you monetize. Consumers are more than willing to personally support their favorite content creators. The well-known problem is how exactly content creators accept payment, especially considering their audience is spread all over the world.
Top gaming streamers like Jeremy “DisguisedToast” Wang claim donations make up a significant portion of their revenue, often surpassing ad revenue. Erotic photographer Holly Randall mentioned that tips in the adult industry for personal content such as camming, Snapchat, and more provide new ways for models to monetize their work. Tips allow creators to generate monthly recurring income in addition to enabling a “one-off” market where users can tip-per-use.
PayPal is the most used processor for tips, and we believe we have identified various issues. Using Paypal as an example:
- In order to tip someone without prohibitive fees, a user needs to be on PayPal already. Venmo users cannot pay PayPal users, CashApp users cannot pay Venmo users, and Zelle users cannot pay CashApp users. This is very limiting to the audience, especially on a global scale.
- PayPal’s fees frequently price out smaller merchants and murder the micropayment economy. Currently, online transactions cost a merchant 2.9% + $0.30 if the payment is coming from within the U.S. and 4.4% + $0.30 if the payment is coming from outside the U.S. This fee structure obsoletes the micropayment economy entirely.
- Arguably the biggest issue is PayPal’s stance on who they serve on their platform. In November of 2019, PayPal removed support for over 100,000 PornHub performers. Currently, PornHub recommends users to pay models through bank deposits, requiring users to enter their beneficiary name, ABA Routing number, and Account number to make a donation.
What is needed is a global, interoperable, protocol for transferring value cheaply and instantly. One that is compatible with thousands of wallets and apps by default. One that is inherently global and knows of no borders. One that uses a money that requires no permission or third-party authority to acquire, hold, and spend. We need Bitcoin to underpin this new budding form of internet commerce. And last, but not least, we need infrastructure and a set of tools that make it usable and desirable for all.
Ever since Bitcoin’s inception, it has been touted as the solution to internet commerce. A natively digital asset that is inherently global, comparatively free, instantly settles, where users can send both micropayments and large amounts. A streamer in the US can get tipped $1.00 by a fan in Russia instantly with no charge. Right?
Well, no. Without the Lightning Network, the Bitcoin blockchain (or any decentralized censorship-resistant blockchain) comes with its own limitations. Finality and settlement aren’t instant and the cost to make a payment is quite literally the opposite of free.
There are also many issues for merchants accepting bitcoin as payment. We run into the same issues for all merchants; volatility, taxes, custody, managing a wallet, and so on have never been worth it to the acquiring side.
What if anyone in the world can scan a QR code with any compatible Bitcoin and Lightning app? What if a full node in Australia, a Strike user in Chicago, and everyone in-between could tip users instantly? What if the receiver didn’t have to deal with volatility, taxes, custody, and wallet backups? What if the receiver simply received fiat in their account whenever they got tipped? What would that look like?
It would look like strike.me, that’s what it would look like.
With strike.me, the goal is simple: we want to give the content creators of the internet the ability to be a merchant to everyone in the world. Anyone in the world looking to tip you can download any compatible application, scan the QR code, click pay, and you get fiat in your bank account.
Popular payment apps like Venmo are limited to their own economy and censor users in various industries. Payment applications each service their own niche. Venmo is a social application, Cash App allows simple pseudonymous payments, and PayPal has more global reach than both. They all respectfully cater to their own segregated economies.
Strike, on the other hand, is built on top of the world’s first global digital currency. strike.me users can transact socially, pseudonymously, and globally. Oh, and it already has millions of customers that can use it, because there are millions around the world that own and use bitcoin.
How it works
Every single Strike user has a strike.me page created for them when they create their account. Inside of Strike, you can navigate to your profile where you can adjust your username, profile picture, description, and whether or not your page is public.
Once your page is public, it will be located at strike.me/YOUR_USERNAME.
Anyone can then visit your page, enter an amount, and send you a tip whether they have Strike or any other compatible wallet and/or application.
Finally, as the receiver of a tip, you simply get fiat.
The ability for those on the internet to accept payment from anyone in the world, as fiat in their account, instantly and with no fees is a major step forward for the digital content creation market.
All of our existing Strike BETA testers can help us test today by simply updating their Strike app and turning on their strike.me profile. If you are looking to join our BETA program, you can sign up at strike.zaphq.io.
If you are a blogger, podcaster, YouTube personality, Instagram influencer, Twitch streamer, adult film model, or any internet content creator with a special use case that is interested in hosting a strike.me page for accepting tips and donations please reach out to me on Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear your story and get you onboard.
Currently, Strike usage has been explosive. In the last 20 days, we’ve seen $20,000 worth of payments on Strike, with $3,000 worth of payments made in a single day earlier this week. With our existing group of small private BETA users alone, Strike is already on pace to achieve $250,000-$500,000 worth of volume in a calendar year.
I’ll be moving Strike out of BETA sooner than you think, with many more Strike features and products coming out over the coming months.
Alright, friends, that’s going to wrap up today's updates. I am excited to see existing Strike BETA testers turn on their strike.me page and start accepting tips! Tweet me your strike.me page, I’ll send you a tip 😃
As always, shoutout to the Zap team. We wanted to get a merchant tool into the wild, and we were able to put this together in a hackathon. An unbelievably talented group of individuals that continues to build, even in times like these.
Lastly, to the community. Thank you for the continued support. We are just getting started with Strike, with so many more features and products to come for both consumers and merchants. I hope everyone is staying healthy and I wish you and your love ones the best in these tough times ❤️.
More things, soon come.
Catch you on the flip side ✌️🍻