Bitcoin-based payments company Strike announced deals last night that will bring crypto payments to point-of-sale terminals NCR, Shopify, and prepaid payments provider Blackhawk Network.
The announcement brings bitcoin, originally designed as a peer-to-peer payment tool, back to its roots as a potentially serious alternative in the payments industry.
Speaking at the Bitcoin 2022 cryptocurrency conference in Miami on Thursday (April 7), Strike CEO Jack Mallers announced the deals, which will send payments through the Lightning Network, a much larger “Layer 2” blockchain. faster and more scalable which is essentially based on Bitcoin’s blockchain.
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“You’re going to be able to walk into a grocery store, into Whole Foods, into a Chipotle, if you want to use a Lightning node on Tor, you do,” Mallers said. “Want to use the Cash app? You do that.”
See more: Cash App Integrates Bitcoin Lightning Payments
Unveiling a list of major retailers that will be able to accept bitcoin payments, including McDonald’s, Walmart, Starbucks, Best Buy, Home Depot, Staples, Wendy’s and Macys, among others, Mallers said they could use the network to receive payments. . in cash or, if they wish, in bitcoins.
“If Chipotle wants bitcoin, I’ll give them bitcoin, I’ll pay it in bitcoin,” he said. “If Chipotle just wants to replicate baby boomer payment networks [credit cards] from 1949, just better, get instant dollars, I’ll give them instant dollars, it doesn’t matter.
Separately Robinhood Stock and Crypto Exchange revealed that it is also working to add Lightning Network. “We’re excited to bring even lower costs to our customers by integrating with the Lightning Network, CEO Vlad Tenev said in a statement. This came as the company announced the beta version of its long-awaited crypto wallet.
Faster and cheaper
Mallers also highlighted the cost of transactions on Lightning, calling it “an innovative and superior new payment rail that is finally integrated and distributed into our lives,” he said. “And so, I used it for the first time.”
He showed a video of himself buying a coke and peanuts from a Chicago grocery store for $1.46. The fee charged, he said, is 3,356 satoshis — better known as sats — which each represent one 100 millionth of bitcoin.
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“For groceries, it’s no different than using an Apple Card or a charge card, or a bank-issued credit card,” Mallers said. “They’re just making money, they don’t care.”
Lightning circumvents bitcoin’s poor scalability and high fees by moving the actual transaction processing off the bitcoin blockchain – a so-called layer 1 blockchain. After doing the complex work on Lightning’s layer 2, it returns sets of completed transaction data to bitcoin to be permanently validated and written to the blockchain.
Individual Lightning sidechains can process 250 transactions per second (TPS) each, and the network has a theoretical maximum of 40 million TPS. Charges run, as Maller has shown, in tiny fractions of a penny. Lightning Network fees are low enough that Cash App offers customers free transactions while using it.
On Tuesday, April 5, Lightning announced that a new upgrade would enable the creation of dollar-pegged stablecoins on its network, enabling low-cost mobile-to-mobile micropayments.
“If I were Visa, I would be scared, because there are a lot of people who have cell phones, but no longer need to use the traditional system, and merchants do not need to pay the 3 % fee plus 30 cents [transaction fee],” Elizabeth Stark, CEO of Lightning Labs, told TechCrunch at the time. “You can have significantly lower fees than the legacy system.”
Three legacy partners
Bitcoin was created as a way to circumvent the traditional banking system – it’s in the first paragraph of the bitcoin whitepaper – and so a good part of the announcement was dedicated to attacking it.
Calling the Lightning Network “a global payments network that lowers costs, improves speed, drives innovation, improves financial inclusion, and delivers the power of choice for consumers and merchants,” Mallers said, “point systems sellers haven’t had a new superior payment system in 55 years. “They haven’t had a better way to get dollars, and merchants have been fooled by inflated prices.”
Pointing to Shopify, Maller made much the same argument, saying the partnership would provide merchants with “a cheaper and faster way to accept US dollars using bitcoin technology.”
Referring to credit cards, Maller said “any online merchant who uses Shopify can accept payments without the 1949 Boomer Network,” he said. “Receive it instantly, in cash, without intermediaries, without 3% fees.”
Maller then announced what he called “my haymaker” – the partnership with “the largest point-of-sale provider on the planet, NCR”.
Last month, the company, which operates in 160 countries, unveiled the acquisition of FinTech Spoke Technologies as part of a shift to open banking, which provides third-party financial service providers with access to banking data, transactions and other consumer financial data from banks and non-banking financial institutions.
Read here: NCR buys intellectual property to advance Open Banking
Crypto Political Push
The announcement caught the attention of Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., a longtime bitcoin owner who has championed the crypto industry since taking office in 2021.
“If America is to remain the world’s financial leader, we must foster innovation,” she said in a prepared statement that Maller showed on stage. “Strike’s financial announcement is a valuable contribution to bringing the US financial system into the 21st century.”
Referring to her pledge to introduce a bill creating a strong and long-needed legislative framework for cryptocurrencies, she added, “I am working to bring smart legislation to the digital asset space so that innovations like that can be integrated into the US financial services sector”.
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The bipartisan legislation is being drafted by Sen. Lummis and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, DN.Y.
This comes as the Biden administration issued an executive order directing all government agencies to work together to come up with a similar framework for crypto, stablecoins, and a potential central bank digital currency, the digital dollar.
Read also : Biden Executive Order Set To Accelerate Crypto Policy