Strike is a digital payments platform using the Bitcoin Lightning Network, Announce It expanded into Guatemala, providing low-cost and secure cross-border payment services to Latin America.
Many people in Latin America rely on remittances from abroad, and Strike is offering an alternative to traditional remittance providers by partnering with Guatemala-based Osmo, enabling transfers from U.S. dollars to local currencies via Bitcoin.
The partnership helps expand financial access in the country by allowing Osmo customers to cash out their Bitcoin balance at participating retail locations and use it to pay at more than 250 in-store locations and online merchants. The use of the Bitcoin Lightning Network has provided faster, cheaper, and more accessible digital payments to people around the world, especially in countries with large numbers of unbanked individuals.
This latest move is part of Strike’s efforts to expand into the global remittance market. To date, Strike has expanded to 11 countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam and Nigeria.
Strike’s product differs from traditional money transfers in several ways. The company’s digital payments are nearly instant compared to traditional money transfers, which can take days or even weeks to complete.
Additionally, Strike does not rely on intermediaries such as banks and money transfer operators, which may charge high fees for their services. Instead, it converts U.S. dollars into bitcoins, which are sent over the Lightning Network to third-party partners operating in the receiving country. The partner then converts the bitcoins into local currency and sends them directly to the recipient’s bank, wallet or mobile money account. This results in significantly lower fees, making it a more affordable option for those who need to send money across borders.
Interestingly, Bitcoin acts as an intermediary currency in this case, and the whole point of Bitcoin is to replace local currencies.Bitcoin, for example, is the national currency of El Salvador, but so far it appears to have not popular as expected. However, using Bitcoin as a gateway currency could eventually lead to its full adoption as a real currency.