Bitcoin payments firm Strike has announced a massive expansion along with the relocation of its headquarters to El Salvador.
On May 19, Strike announced that it was expanding to a total of 65 global markets. In addition to the global expansion, it is also moving its headquarters to El Salvador where Bitcoin is legal tender.
Speaking to Fortune at the Bitcoin 2023 conference in Miami, CEO Jack Mallers said touted the simplicity of the Strike app.
“We think there are billions of people that want a money app with those characteristics and capabilities contrasted to a clouded world of crypto exchanges and hidden, unregistered licensing regimes and 1,000 different coins,”
The Strike app uses the Bitcoin Lightning Network, a layer 2 scaling solution for cheaper and faster transactions.
Strike Seeking 3 Billion Users
Mallers added that the decision to relocate was due to increasing regulatory pressure and a lack of clarity in the United States.
“Two years ago, people would have made fun of me [for our] headquarters in El Salvador to launch a product for three billion people, but now Coinbase is fighting with Gary Gensler,” he said before adding, “Who’s laughing now?”
The firm currently operates in the U.S., Argentina, and El Salvador but will expand to a market of around 3 billion people.
Mallers said this was a validation of Strike’s Bitcoin-first approach at a time when the Securities and Exchange Commission is suing crypto firms left right and center.
Additionally, the firm is currently facing hurdles in New York where it is not available due to a pending BitLicense application.
Mallers hopes to expand ties with banks to allow fiat-on and off-ramps in more countries and launch a debit card. Dollar balances on the app are currently held in Tether as its South American customers view Circle as a stablecoin for American institutions, he said.
American Crypto Exodus Continues
Strike and crypto exchange Bitfinex was among the first crypto firms to be granted licenses to operate in El Salvador. The country recently passed crypto-focused legislation to attract technological innovations in the region. The U.S. is doing the exact opposite forcing crypto firms to relocate overseas in friendlier jurisdictions.
Coinbase, Gemini, Galaxy Digital, and Ripple have all moved or mulled a move of full or partial operations out of America. Moreover, crypto exchange Bittrex shuttered its U.S. services and subsequently filed for bankruptcy earlier this month.
On May 9, two of the world’s largest market makers said they were suspending their U.S. crypto trading plans. Jane Street Group and Jump Crypto cited regulatory uncertainty for their decisions, with the latter also considering a move offshore.
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