Announcing Strike Public BETA
Yo. Today is the day. And even though much of my post will be about today, it’s important to quickly address how we got here. Strike is the direct result of years of Bitcoin + Lightning development, countless hours of user research, intense product iteration, and months of BETA testing. The numerous sessions with regulators, unnumbered conference calls with lawyers, infinite meetings with banking partners, and many sleepless nights have all led us to today.
Today, Strike is available to download on iOS, Android, and Chrome. Strike allows anyone in the world to interact with the Bitcoin and Lightning Network protocols using only a bank account and/or debit card. You don’t need a wallet, a node, a seed, channels, liquidity, fancy swaps, whitepapers, and so on to interact with this new global digital economy. Simply download, link your bank account, and scan. You can find our download links and learn more at our updated website at beta.strike.me.
Our vision for Strike is unornamented and inelastic; we want to build an application with the ambition to usher in an era of Bitcoin that we believe can achieve our goal of true mainstream adoption. What does commerce look like in a world where legacy finance is interoperable with this new global value transfer protocol known as Bitcoin? A world where a full node and a checking account speak the same language? A world where a debit card and a BTCPay server are friends? A world where the line between BTC and USD no longer exists? We wanted to see for ourselves what that world would look like. Enter Strike.
Our first hurdle to overcome in pursuing our goals was to address the age-old pain point that has plagued Bitcoin for years; KYC/AML. Strike is a regulated financial product. Because we allow users to interact with both fiat currency and Bitcoin, we are required to comply with KYC/AML laws. However, the question we had was, how much KYC/AML is “good enough” and why?
When I first started the journey of bringing a mainstream user experience to Bitcoin, I’ll never forget what it felt like sitting on floor 1,000 of this highrise, looking over the city of Chicago in my hoodie, as a lawyer explained to me that none of what I was describing was possible. Maybe it was the hoodie.
I’ve never heard of the “Lightning Network” and all users will have to submit personal information such as an address, date of birth, SSN, ID photos, and pictures of themselves. — Suitman lawyer guy
Listen suitman lawyer guy, I know that’s how things are typically done, but I refuse to believe that’s how it has to be. The last thing I want is to introduce a new demographic of users to Bitcoin, only to have them treated as criminals as soon as they download Strike. There had to be a better way.
So, as our BETA progressed, we started crunching some data. So far in our private BETA, the average Strike payment size is $27, with thousands of payments under $10 and even more under $1. If users are frequently making small transactions, why did they need to submit their address, birthday, SSN, ID pictures, selfie, and so on?
After countless hours educating regulators, designing different approaches with various law firms, engineering different onboarding processes, and designing an experience we stand behind, we found out the answer to our question was a big fat (surprising) no, we don’t need all of that information when signing up.
With our public launch, I am unbelievably proud to announce the only requirement for most users to use Strike is your name and phone number. That is not a typo. You read that correctly. We care about you a lot. We care about Bitcoin a lot. We were not going to let regulation get in the way of Bitcoin’s relationship with the world.
Below I demo onboarding onto Strike. A user goes from download to payment in less than a minute.
Pretty boomer proof if you ask me.
Strike might not be available in your area and we are currently excluding users from NY, FL, TX, and HI.
With Strike, a user can seamlessly send and receive digital transactions such as Lightning payments directly to and from their bank account. In addition, there is a remarkably cool feature that comes prepackaged with your Strike account, strike.me.
When you create your Strike account, you automatically get a strike.me profile at strike.me/[YOUR_USERNAME]. strike.me is a social platform that allows anyone to accept tips, donations, and payments in fiat, regardless of size, from anywhere in the world. Inside of Strike, you can navigate to your profile where you can adjust your profile picture, username, bio, and whether or not your page is public.
Your strike.me profile is natively interoperable with the millions of existing Bitcoin users all over the world. It doesn’t matter if you have CashApp, Coinbase, Samourai Wallet, Wasabi, BlueWallet, Zap, Strike, etc. We’re all interlinked together through the Bitcoin protocol. With a strike.me profile, a Twitch streamer in the US can accept a $0.01 tip from a full node in Australia, free of charge. A non-profit organization can accept donations instantly, for free, from any of the millions of existing Bitcoin wallets. Speaking of non-profits…
To demonstrate the power of strike.me, I’ve set up a Black Lives Matter strike.me donation page. Born and raised in Chicago, the majority of my closest friends are Black. Racial oppression in my country is a serious issue, and I want to support change where I was born and raised. What America is going through has exceeded our borders and has become a global headline.
So, I figured, why not launch a strike.me page to demonstrate the power of an inherently global value transfer protocol? At strike.me/blm, anyone in the world can scan a QR code and donate as much as they’d like. Whether you are from the US, Indonesia, a full node or Strike user, we are all one and the same with Strike. We all speak the same protocol.
As a strike.me user, the donations are auto-converted and received as fiat. I will be donating all proceeds to the strike.me/blm profile to Color Of Change, the largest online racial justice organization in the United States, founded in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.
If you feel inclined, I invite anyone and everyone to donate as much as you please, a penny or a dollar, it all counts. To start, I will be donating $1,000 on behalf of Zap to kick things off. Politics aside, I hope this demonstrates the power of a payment stack built to be interoperable with the world’s first global, digital, value transfer protocol. Free, instant, global, and easy.
I will be forwarding the money to Color Of Change as donations come in, posting the wire receipts on Twitter as proof.
In our private BETA, we have seen incredible usage across a wide variety of use cases. Users young and old have used Strike to buy Bitcoin to their own custody, send remittance payments to family outside of the country, make micropayments to unlock digital content, make payments to other Strike users, purchase goods at brick-and-mortar shops, and make purchases online. Since we began inviting private BETA testers, Strike has seen consistent usage and month over month growth.
The most popular Strike use case to date has been the purchase of Fold gift cards. We’ve seen $83,644.00 worth of payments as of writing from Strike BETA testers to Fold alone, as users enjoy rewards when shopping at Fold over Lightning.
Brick and mortar spending has also seen a surprising amount of volume. The relationship between merchants and payment processors in the US is tricky. Take cannabis for example; cannabis companies have a notoriously volatile relationship with payment processors, with some businesses being blocked from processing payments completely. A handful of cannabis dispensaries in the US have begun using Strike infrastructure as merchants, powering contactless payments approved by local governments. This use case highlights Strike’s ability to circumvent the issues Cannabis companies have with processing payments. Strike has become the payment method of choice, and we’ve seen five figures worth of payments processed over the last few months through Strike.
In aggregate, across our small private BETA we’ve seen over six figures worth of outgoing payments from Strike users, resulting in our trading algorithms purchasing over $200,000 worth of Bitcoin to date.
The community has waited long enough, and the time has finally come. I’m head over heels excited to see the reaction to Strike’s public BETA. However, you all know me, this is only the beginning.
Our roadmap is as long as it is robust. Some things to be on the lookout for are on-chain support, Strike Debit Cards powered by our newly inked partnership with VISA, Strike Rewards with partnered merchants, Strike Referrals when you invite your friends and family, Strike Commerce + merchant tools, and much more rolling out over the coming weeks and months. Private BETA is over, the cat is out of the bag, and the snowball has started its journey down the hill. Here we come.
As for the app itself, Strike is still in BETA, and there will be plenty of bugs and things to learn. We are excited and ready to allow the public to help us test, but Strike is still very early, and Lightning is still very early. There may be errors, there may be failed payments, we may go down for maintenance, and so on, so please be careful and use with caution. If you find a bug, have any feedback, or need to contact support, you can email email@example.com.
Strike will remain on Testflight for iOS and on Early Access via the Play Store for Android. We will monitor how the next few weeks go as we look forward to migrating to the respective App Stores.
Alright, y’all, I’m going to stop there for today. As always, I save this section for last, minutes before I publish. I’m not only excited but have never felt so driven and ambitious. I am overwhelmed with emotion, not sure what else to say.
I personally would like to shoutout the Zap team. It’s one thing to test, brainstorm, conceptualize, and so on. However, it’s an entirely different ball game when it comes to putting your head down and executing, through the good and bad. Writing code, designing interfaces, testing ideas, partnering with institutions, handling compliance, etc. Dating back to my initial Zap blog post in August of 2017, what a story this project has. The Zap team cares about Bitcoin more than anything, and it’s the underlying unifier and driver in everything we do. I’m so proud to be able to say I spend every day working with you all and working to change the world at that, truly special. Hats off mrfelton, RockstarDev, otto, raph, korhal, Ole, Namson, Kataklinger, Petar, and Dylan. Here’s to more days like the previous ones. Building, shipping, building, shipping. It’s what we do best.
Lastly, to the community. For those that don’t know, I dropped out of college, and have spent my entire adult life in the Bitcoin space and with the Bitcoin community. The relationship I have with you all means the world to me. The support day in and day out is so special, and one of the main inspirations behind what I do. We are all interlinked because of our belief that the world is a better place with Bitcoin in it. I know you all have my back, and I appreciate that more than you know. I love y’all, for real. I’m forever indebted to Bitcoin and this community ❤️
You can contact me @JackMallers on twitter or firstname.lastname@example.org via email. If you’d like to reach Strike support, you can do so at email@example.com. Feel free to join our slack if you’d like to ask questions and hang out on the ol’ interwebs. I’ve got so much more coming, it’s not even funny. Don’t blink.
Be easy, family. Catch you on the flip side 👊 🍻