Today at the Bitcoin Conference in Miami, Jack Mallers announced Strike's integration with Shopify, an e-commerce company, NCR, a point of sale manufacturer, and Blackhawk, a payments services company. Shopify provides payment services for 1.7 million companies in 175 countries around the world. NCR is the #1 global POS software provider for retail and hospitality and operates in 141 different countries. Blackhawk partners with 700 different merchants in 25 different countries providing gift card and rebate services. Strike bringing its lightning network Bitcoin solutions to these payment providers opens every business they service to Bitcoin and the lightning network. Meaning anyone with a lightning wallet will be able to transact with any company serviced by these providers with bitcoin.
With CashApps recent lightning integration, an additional 70 million people will have access to a lightning wallet and can begin making purchases with bitcoin. CashApp also plans to rollout bitcoin direct deposit, a service that Strike already provides to its users, meaning, not only will these users have access to a lightning wallet, but they will be able to get paid in bitcoin, and subsequently spend that bitcoin at thousands of retailers worldwide.
Bitcoin and Lightning brings advantages to consumers AND retailers. It cuts point of sale fees from payment processing merchants like Visa and Mastercard charging between 1.15% + $0.05-2.4% + $0.10 per transaction. Lightning, currently has incredibly low fees, with a base fee of 1 satoshi or 0.00000001 bitcoin. These fees can vary, but at the time of writing remain substantially lower than current Visa and Mastercard fees.
This news has quickly brought out many poor takes. Some have downplayed the significance of this integration. Many are questioning why one would spend their bitcoin especially if it is "a store of value". Others have pointed to their shitcoin of choice, stating they have been able to do these types of transactions for years. Some have exclaimed that "this will end all credit card companies!" Hopefully we can parse through some of the noise.
This integration is significant. Many are missing the fact that with Strike you can spend dollars (instead of your precious bitcoin) and Strike will be an intermediary that brings instant finality to these major retailers. As mentioned above, bringing down fees for processing is a huge plus here. But instant finality also eliminates chargebacks. Chargeback costs are a $40 billion dollar problem. These costs are often passed down to the final customer. Eliminating this with instant finality can be a win-win for merchants and customers.
The most important part of this development, and the most overlooked, is the fact that you can use a non-custodial lightning wallet in a self-sovereign manner with Non-kyc bitcoin and pay for real goods in a way that preserves your privacy. This is the trojan horse of this announcement, and has likely caught regulators off guard.
This announcement taps into the security of the most decentralized digital bearer-asset, allows for instant finality with the lightning network and allows the users (if they choose) to buy goods in a private manner. This is a major development and big push forward for a circular bitcoin-economy.