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Cryptogambling / Strike expands international operations with new El Salvador headquarters

Strike expands international operations with new El Salvador headquarters

Jonas Blackwood
Jonas Blackwood
Publish Date: 25/05/2023
Key Points
  • Strike, a Bitcoin payment firm, has set up an international headquarters in El Salvador to expand globally.
  • Despite U.S. regulatory issues, Strike keeps its primary base in Chicago, valuing El Salvador's Bitcoin-friendly climate.
  • Strike addresses network challenges with a "Send Globally" feature and plans more developments, leveraging Bitcoin for global transactions.

Bitcoin payment firm Strike has established a new headquarters in El Salvador for its international operations as it is expanding to over 65 countries

Strike CEO Jack Mallers announced the new headquarters in El Salvador during his keynote speech at the Bitcoin 2023 conference in Miami Beach, Florida.

Strike now has separate entities for its U.S. and global operations, with the El Salvador-based entity overseeing the expansion to international markets.

Despite regulatory uncertainties in the United States that have led other crypto companies to exit the market, the company maintained that its primary headquarters would remain in Chicago.

Mallers expressed confidence about Strike’s global expansion and its headquarters in El Salvador, emphasizing that it was a positive and exciting move for the company.

He highlighted the Bitcoin-friendly environment in El Salvador compared to what he described as a climate of regulatory uncertainty in the U.S., referencing the ongoing battle between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, which likely alludes to the Wells notice Coinbase received from the SEC in March.

International expansion

Strike’s decision to move the global headquarters to El Salvador was partly influenced by the country’s digital assets law, which established a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies.

Strike was among the first companies to receive a license under this new regime, along with Bitfinex. Additionally, the relationship between Mallers and El Salvador’s President, Nayib Bukele, played a role in this decision. Mallers previously introduced Bukele at the Bitcoin Miami conference in 2021, during which Bitcoin was declared legal tender in El Salvador.

Despite some initial setbacks in El Salvador’s experiment with Bitcoin, Mallers believes that the country has found hope in the cryptocurrency, pointing to increased tourism as evidence.

With its international headquarters now in El Salvador, Strike aims to expand its connections with global banking services that facilitate the exchange of BTC for fiat currency.

The Strike app itself uses Bitcoin and Lightning, a secondary network for more affordable and faster processing speed on Bitcoin transactions, to offer international payment and cross-border fund transfer services. The app also provides users the option to hold funds in Bitcoin (BTC) and Tether (USDT).

At this time, Strike is still facing challenges related to network congestion and higher fees on Bitcoin transactions due to increased demand. However, Mallers argued that Bitcoin still functions as intended and dismisses claims that congestion adversely affects emerging markets.

In an effort to address these challenges, Strike recently introduced the “Send Globally” feature, allowing users to transfer USD and other currencies using Bitcoin as an intermediary. However, the service is currently limited to twelve countries in Africa, Central America and Southeast Asia.

Strike also plans to introduce new features, including a debit card, in the coming months.

There previously were criticisms regarding Strike’s choice to hold USD balances in USDT, as well as concerns about its accounting practices. Mallers said that user demand from the Global South influenced the firm’s decision to use USDT instead of alternatives like Circle’s USD Coin (USDC). However, he has yet to expressively address concerns about the firms’ bookkeeping.

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