Bitcoin payment firm Strike has coordinated with the mobile app Bitnob to facilitate payments into Africa, enabling instant and low-cost remittances to the continent. The new ‘Send Globally’ feature is available to all American Strike users and will offer initial coverage to Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya. This partnership will allow the three African countries to receive instant and low-cost payments in local currency through Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. Americans will be able to remit value straight into African bank accounts using Strike and Bitcoin
During AfroBitcoin, a Bitcoin conference in Ghana's capital city Accra in December 2022, Strike announced that the launched feature was in partnership with the African Bitcoin company Bitnob. CEO of Strike, Jack Mallers, announced on stage, standing alongside the Nigerian CEO of Bitnob, Bernard Parah, how the app works. Once Strike users send money to African recipients, funds will be converted into their relevant local currency and deposited into their mobile money, bank or Bitnob account.
Lightning network and layer-2 payments network Bitcoin will be used for money transfers in Africa, according to the experts of Bitcoin 360. At the same time, it improves the ease of payments in the continent, where banking services are minimal, with cross-border options being few and far between. Strike CEO, Mallers said, "With exorbitant fees to transfer funds in and out of Africa and incumbent providers halting services, payments companies are struggling to operate in Africa, and people cannot send money home to their family members." Mallers added, "Strike offers an opportunity for people to transfer their US dollars easily and instantly across borders." According to Mallers, the instant peer-to-peer payment service is similar to PayPal's Venmo app, which allows frictionless, prompt payments between United States customers and others around the world. Mallers concluded by saying the Lightning Network has "just achieved dollars to Naira, Naira to dollars."
The remittances service initially enables people in Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria to receive money from the US and immediately convert it to their local currency. Providing a solution to cross-border payments in Africa using Bitcoin would significantly boost local economies. According to World Bank data, in 2020, $17.2 billion was sent in remittances to Nigeria. Wherein for every $200 sent, it costs the sender $17.8 (8.9 %), which equals roughly $1.5 billion lost in fees. Bitcoin payment rails are there to eliminate remittance fees, and if Nigeria uses them, they will benefit financially. The situation is similar in Ghana and Kenya, as thousands live in the United States and frequently send money overseas.
African countries face economic exclusion, bank freezes, and exploitative remittance fees. Founder and CEO of Bitnob Parah said, "The current financial system isn't set up in a way that ensures equal access for people and institutions from Africa." Parah added, "What we have built reduces the pressure on our financial institutions in sourcing USD liquidity. People can now easily exchange value from the US to people in Africa in the cheapest way possible. We can now save people sending money back home to Africa billions of USD in transfer fees." Strike and Bitnob bridge the gap between the two continents by connecting local financial institutions with the universal Lightning network — Bitcoin's overlay protocol for cheap and fast payments and the feature does not require people to use Bitcoin themselves.
Strike is the easiest way to spend, send, remit, and invest money as itenables cheaper, faster, global, cash-final payments for businesses and consumers. Strike is built on the Bitcoin network — the most significant international, compatible, and open payment standard. Strike accepts that open payment networks enable universal involvement in the financial system, cheaper payment processing, borderless money transfers, and new payment experiences previously impossible with legacy technology. Strike makes buying Bitcoin affordable and straightforward and affords you the ability to track your Bitcoin in real time.
In response to Parah's statement where he said that "the feature does not require people to use Bitcoin themselves," that is because Strike does not require users to spend their Bitcoin. . Using Bitcoin's Lightning Network as a transactional conversion layer, Strike users can pay anyone, anywhere, with any currency and achieve physical finality.
Strike is committed to rolling out financial services globally, utilising the Lightning network. The upgrade is currently only applicable to Americans sending money to those living in Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria. However, Strike plans to roll out this new feature in more African countries. Africa is fast becoming a world leader in Bitcoin and crypto adoption, and this partnership between Strike and Bitnob shows how committed the continent is to moving with the times and growing in the crypto space. We will continue to inform you of any new developments regarding this partnership and its progress.