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Strike by Zap Review: The Best Payment Processor in the World?

Strike by Zap has been one of the most hyped Bitcoin applications in recent memory due to its integration with the secondary Bitcoin payments layer known as the Lightning Network.

The app is a sort of Bitcoin variation on many of the common payment apps people already use today like Cash App and Venmo. Strike originally came out of Zap, which is a Lightning Network-enabled Bitcoin wallet created by Jack Mallers.

At its core, Strike combines ACH bank transfers, bitcoin, and the Lightning Network to enable a global, instant payment system that is able to convert between more than 200 different fiat currencies while the payment is on the way. There are a variety of different ways in which the Strike app can be used, and many people are already using it today for international remittances, filling bitcoin-denominated invoices from their bank accounts,  and even buying bitcoin with a bank account or debit card to be sent to their non-custodial wallet.

Let’s take a closer look at this crypto tool and see why it has so many Bitcoin enthusiasts excited about its potential applications in the real world.

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Strike Overview

Strike by Zap logo


  • A potentially game-changing service that let’s users send and spend Bitcoin for free
  • Bitcoin Layer 2 Protocol with free, nearly instantaneous transactions
  • Useful for micro transactions because there are no fees
  • Easy on-boarding process that shouldn’t take more than a few minutes

Strike Pros & Cons


  • Instantly send money anywhere in the world for free

  • Limited Know Your Customer verification

  • Best option for paying Bitcoin and Lightning Network invoices from a bank account or debit card

  • Rolling out to more than 200 countries via Bittrex Global partnership

  • A Strike card is on the way via a partnership with Visa


  • Still in an early beta phase of development

  • Funds held in the app are held by Strike

  • Availability is still limited in most countries

  • Only works with Bitcoin

Strike Overview

Strike is best described as Bitcoin’s version of commonly-used payment apps like Cash App and Venmo.

The basic idea is that users are able to instantly send payments to anyone in the world at the click of a button via the power of Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. Anyone can connect their bank account to Strike, which can then be used to send payments to other Strike users or any Bitcoin address or Lightning Network invoice.

Eventually, other bank-esque features will be added to Strike, which will give it all of the basic functionality found in traditional bank accounts such as a debit card and an account number for receiving ACH transfers. There are a variety of important use cases that are enabled via Strike’s merging of the traditional financial system and Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. For example, NFL Pro Bowl Tackle Russell Okung was able to convert half of his NFL salary to bitcoin through a partnership with Strike.

Is Strike Safe?

Although Strike has built much of its infrastructure on top of Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, the reality is some serious tradeoffs have been made in favor of creating a seamless user experience. For example, the Bitcoin-based payments made via Strike are made by the company behind the app rather than the users themselves.

In other words, Strike is running their own Lightning Network nodes for processing payments on behalf of their users. Additionally, the ability to plug into the traditional financial system via linking a bank account or debit card means that a bit of Know Your Customer (KYC) verification is necessary to use the app.

While using Strike isn’t as trust-less as using Bitcoin itself, the tradeoffs made here will be more than worth it for users who aren’t very technical and could use a bit of extra help when interacting with the Bitcoin network. Strike has implemented all of the same sort of security standards that are found at the most trusted bitcoin exchanges in the world. For example, users can enable two-factor authentication in order to add an extra layer of protection to their Strike accounts.

How Much is Strike?

The main goal of Strike is to build an instant and free payment service that works in every country around the world. Indeed, there are no fees associated with using the Strike app, even in situations where the recipient of a payment prefers a different currency than what the sender originally sent. The only fees Strike users need to worry about are the network fees associated with operating on the Bitcoin network when a payment is being sent outside of Strike to pay a Bitcoin invoice.

So, how are these fee-free payments possible? This is where Strike’s use of the Lightning Network comes into play. Instead of using the traditional, costly rails of the legacy banking system, Strike powers its payments system with Bitcoin’s own layer-two protocol for cheap, instant payments.

Fees for payments made via Bitcoin’s Lightning Network tend to be less than a penny, which has massive implications when it comes to sending payments across the world at a low cost. For payments that are made between users who are using different local currencies, bitcoin is used as the settlement currency to enable the international money transfer for free.

What are the Best Features of Strike?

The key selling point of Strike is that it makes it easy for users to send money anywhere in the world through the power of the Bitcoin network in an extremely user-friendly interface. Users are able to scan QR codes related to Bitcoin addresses or Lightning Network invoices, and the funds to make those payments will be pulled directly from those users’ bank accounts.

The recipient of a Strike payment does not need to be using the same fiat currency as the sender, and they don’t even need to have access to a bank account if they’d like to receive payments over the Bitcoin network.

Strike has also become an alternative way for users to increase their bitcoin holdings. This is sort of a side effect of being able to make Bitcoin payments from a bank account. Users are able to make a payment from their Strike wallet to their own, non-custodial Bitcoin wallet in order to purchase bitcoin and send them to their own personal crypto wallet.

Additionally, Strike plans to add more bank-esque functionality to their users’ accounts, which will allow them to receive direct deposits into their Strike app and decide to have a specific percentage of those direct deposits converted to bitcoin.

One final perk with Strike worth mentioning is that, while there is indeed a KYC process that must be completed to use the app, the KYC verification requirements for Strike are quite low. All the user needs to provide is a name and phone number to get started with Strike.

Potential Dealbreakers

Strike is an extremely powerful tool for those who don’t understand the complexities of Bitcoin and other blockchain-based networks, but some of the crypto purists will find a variety of reasons to complain. Obviously, the fact that users must go through a bit of KYC verification in order to use the Strike app will be a turn off to cypherpunks who don’t want to tie their real identities to their online financial activities. Additionally, the Bitcoin payments made via Strike are made on users’ behalf rather than by each individual user themselves.

Another potential dealbreaker with Strike is that the app is still in pretty early stages of development. It is not widely available around the entire globe, and it’s still being rolled out in various jurisdictions through a slow, gradual process. That said, new features and countries of operation are being added to Strike on a regular basis.

One final dealbreaker potential Strike users may see with the app is that it only works with Bitcoin and it doesn’t have support for sending payments to other cryptocurrency networks. Of course, for the purposes of this app, support for additional crypto assets does not really help with the underlying intended use case.

Strike Frequently Asked Questions

Strike is an app built by Zap Inc., which was founded by Bitcoin developer Jack Mallers. Before founding Zap, Mallers worked on a variety of projects in the Bitcoin space, including a zero-commission, no-limit online gambling platform called ZeroHouseEdge.

Yes, Strike is useful for making sending international remittances. For example, a user in the United States is able to add money to their Strike app via their bank account and then send funds to Strike users in any other part of the world where Strike is already available. Recipients in other countries are able to peg their funds to the U.S. dollar through Strike’s integration with various stablecoins by way of a partnership with Bittrex. Of course, Strike users are also able to send funds to anyone in the world who is willing to receive the money in the form of bitcoin.

Strike is intended to be available on all platforms. There are currently apps available in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, and Strike is also working on a Chrome extension that can be used by those who prefer a desktop experience when sending payments. There are also full desktop apps and a web-based version of the platform available to Strike users.

The Lightning Network is a secondary payments network built on top of the base Bitcoin blockchain. When users opt-into this additional protocol layer for Bitcoin, they’re able to make much faster and cheaper payments than would otherwise be possible at the base blockchain layer.

In short, the Lightning Network acts as a sort of caching layer for Bitcoin payments where users can effectively send a limitless number of payments between each other before eventually settling the net result of those payments on the Bitcoin blockchain. In Strike, the Lightning Network is used to enable low-cost international payments between users who use different fiat currencies in their local areas. For example, a Strike user in the United States who sends money to a friend in the United Kingdom via the app will have their funds converted to bitcoin on the Lightning Network as part of the payment process.

The sender’s U.S. dollars will be converted to bitcoin via an exchange, sent to the United Kingdom via the Lightning Network, and then converted from bitcoin to British pounds via an exchange on the other end of the transaction. While this is a multi-step process that can appear complex at first, the reality is the entire transaction can happen in less than a second.

Zap is the Lightning Network-enabled Bitcoin software that works on the backend of the Strike app. This is one of the most popular open-source Bitcoin Lightning Network wallets in existence, and Zap Inc. is also the company behind the Strike app. In 2020, Zap raised $3.5 million from the likes of Green Oaks Capital, Anthony Pompliano, and others.

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