Strike launches Bitcoin payment services in seven African nations

Strike, a Bitcoin-focused payments application, has announced the launch of its services in seven African countries, signaling its expansion into the continent.

The countries included in this initial rollout are Gabon, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia. The company, founded by CEO Jack Mallers, aims to extend its reach to more African markets in the future.

Strike, a product of the Chicago-based startup Zap, is akin to mobile payment applications like Cash App or Venmo but utilizes blockchain technology for transactions.

The application will allow users in these African countries to engage in buying and selling Bitcoin (BTC) and the dollar stablecoin USDT. Additionally, it will provide local fiat currency on-ramps and off-ramps, alongside global payments via Bitcoin’s Lightning network. This network facilitates low-cost, speedy transactions for both transfers and cross-border payments.

The introduction of Strike Africa comes at a time when Bitcoin and stablecoins are gaining popularity in countries with high inflation rates and unstable financial systems, such as Argentina and Turkey.

Notably, Nigeria, Africa’s largest market, has seen a significant surge in crypto adoption as individuals seek digital assets to hedge against local currency devaluation. The Nigerian naira has experienced a considerable decline in value, dropping by almost 50% against the U.S. dollar recently.

The move by Strike to expand into Africa reflects the company’s view of the continent as a fertile ground for financial innovation and economic freedom. The firm points out the challenges many African countries face with high inflation rates and devaluing currencies, which complicate the ability of residents to save and build wealth.

The expansion follows Strike’s announcement last year of its plans to extend its operations to over 65 countries, targeting not only Africa but also Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean. In November, Strike made its services available globally, allowing users in over 35 countries to purchase BTC through its app, albeit with a 3.9% fee for non-U.S. customers.

In related news, Strike CEO Jack Mallers recently revealed his decision to divest completely from the U.S. dollar, emphasizing his commitment to Bitcoin.

Mallers, known for his advocacy of Bitcoin, criticized the U.S. monetary policies and expressed his belief in Bitcoin’s potential to counter fiat debasement, highlighting its fixed supply and decentralized nature. His stance reflects a broader belief in Bitcoin’s alignment with American values such as personal freedom, equal opportunity, and innovation.

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