Crypto app Strike launches Bitcoin services across Europe

The recent Bitcoin mania may have been driven by the approval of ETFs in the U.S., but blockchain entrepreneur Jack Mallers wants to expand the cryptocurrency’s availability in Europe.

His company, Strike, announced on Wednesday that it’s launching its Bitcoin-focused app, which includes buying and selling services along with payment tools, to customers across Europe, excluding the U.K.

In an interview with Fortune, the 30-year-old Mallers said he views Europe as Strike’s second-biggest market after the U.S. With the price of Bitcoin skyrocketing over the past few months, Strike will be entering a competitive landscape that includes Coinbase, eToro, and BitPanda. Robinhood also announced it would expand its crypto services to Europe in December.

“We don’t view Europe as that crowded—at least compared to America,” Mallers told Fortune. “We think Bitcoin is the biggest innovation of our lifetimes, and we want to be one of the best in the world at it.”

Bitcoin’s climb

Founded in 2019, Strike has taken a Bitcoin-first approach to crypto services as competitors such as Coinbase and Kraken offer a variety of cryptocurrencies, from Ether to Dogecoin.

Strike has experimented with payment services, including implementing compatibility with the Lightning network, a layer 2 protocol that enables faster and cheaper transactions, as well as partnering with Twitter on a tipping feature.

Since raising $80 million in September 2022, just two months before the collapse of FTX sent crypto markets reeling, Strike has continued its expansion of payment tools. In late 2022, the company introduced a feature called Send Globally that allows users to transfer money between different currencies using Bitcoin as an intermediary. It also moved its global headquarters to El Salvador, whose president, Nayib Bukele, has embraced Bitcoin as he faces accusations of authoritarian behavior.

Amid anticipation of the approval of ETFs, Bitcoin erupted out of its sluggish rut in late 2023. After the official announcement came in January, the cryptocurrency climbed in price to an all-time high of over $70,000 in March and has remained above $60,000.

Mallers said that despite Strike’s focus on payment tools, demand from customers has predominantly been for trading and custody services. Strike moved its custody operation in-house in June after the bankruptcy of its former custodian, Prime Trust.

He expects Bitcoin to continue its upward trajectory, especially amid inflation concerns. “Rates over 5% and gold hitting all-time highs tells you everything you need to know about how the market and the world is feeling in regard to confidence and the deficits that they’re seeing,” Mallers said.

Europe expansion

By expanding Strike to Europe, Mallers is betting that consumers will value his platform’s Bitcoin strategy over competitors that may be distracted by other sectors of crypto. (A spokesperson declined to share how many countries the app will be available in.)

“We see a world where everyone ends up wanting a high-quality Bitcoin experience and not that diluted crypto experience,” Mallers told Fortune. “As cycles go through and things like FTX and Binance happen, a lot of people lose confidence in things like Dogecoin because, in my opinion, you should have never had that confidence in the first place.”

He said Strike’s emphasis on Bitcoin has led to lower processing fees for buying and selling the asset than other platforms like Coinbase. He added that in early trials in Europe, Strike also will facilitate lower-cost U.S. dollar-to-euro conversions through Bitcoin than more traditional transfer platforms like Wise.

While Strike offers the leading stablecoin, Tether, to users in Latin America and Africa, Mallers said the app will not include the stablecoin in its European launch due to lower demand. Echoing a recent interview by Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino, he said that there’s no appetite in the U.S. or Europe, where consumers aren’t looking to hedge against the volatility of their native currency.

The Europe expansion represents an ambitious next stage for the company, which has around 70 full-time employees. Mallers said Strike is growing 100% month over month and is profitable, with the firm sweeping a portion of its profits into Bitcoin through its own treasury.

“We’re focused on owning as much Bitcoin as we possibly can,” Mallers told Fortune. It’s an ethos he follows in his personal life as well. In a post on X earlier this year, the founder proclaimed that he no longer owns any U.S. dollars.

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