US-based online merchants can now accept Bitcoin from customers anywhere in the world after payments startup Strike inked a new partnership with ecommerce giant Shopify.
Strike chief exec Jack Mallers announced the deal — which he dubbed his ‘King’s Gambit‘ — on stage at the 2022 Bitcoin Conference in Miami on Thursday.
Mallers also revealed new partnerships with the world’s largest point-of-sale provider NCR and payments company Blackhawk to help smooth merchant integration.
The new services will use Bitcoin’s Lightning Network and will, according to a Strike press release, “lower costs, enhance speed, drive innovation, improve financial inclusion, and bring the power of choice to consumers and merchants.”
Mallers pitched the new system as a long-overdue update to more traditional card-based payment processes, a la Visa and Mastercard. According to Mallers, those offerings haven’t been updated in over half a century.
“My grandfather used the same technology to buy shit as I do. That’s not American. That’s bullshit,” Mallers told a delighted audience.
It’s worth noting that Strike’s point-of-sale offering will automatically convert Bitcoin to US dollars.
Technically, the fiat will be used to settle any purchases, not the Bitcoin, although the merchants do effectively “accept” the Bitcoin from the customer perspective.
Consumers anywhere in the world can use the service with a Lightning-enabled crypto wallet. These include Zap, Jack Dorsey’s Cash App, and Strike’s own payment app.
Strike is just one platform pushing Bitcoin’s Lightning Network
Despite concerns from Bitcoin and Lightning devs who say the protocol isn’t totally reliable, Lightning is quickly becoming the Bitcoin scaling solution of choice for crypto firms.
California-headquartered exchange Robinhood also announced on Thursday that it would integrate the second-layer application to speed up its Bitcoin transactions.
And the likes of Twitter, Block (formerly Square), and Kraken have already moved to adopt the protocol in various ways.
Lightning developer Lightning Labs also recently announced plans to use $70 million worth of series B funding to build its Taro protocol.
Taro aims to open Lightning Network to non-Bitcoin assets like stablecoins and fiat.
Ahead of the Taro announcement, Lightning Labs chief Elizabeth Stark told Forbes (our emphasis):
“That’s really significant because the potential here is for all the world’s currencies to route through Bitcoin over the Lightning Network.”
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