United States-based users of Strike, a digital payments platform built on Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, can now transfer funds instantly and at a low cost to Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria via the recently added new feature known as “Send Globally.” The new feature instantly converts the funds to local currencies prior to moving them to recipients’ respective bank or mobile money accounts.
The High Cost of Sending Funds to Africa
According to Strike, a digital payments platform built on Bitcoin’s lightning network, a feature recently added to its platform now enables instant and low-cost payments to Africa. Known as “Send Globally,” the feature — currently available to United States-based users — applies to payments sent to Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria.
As the digital payments firm’s Dec. 6 press statement explains, the use of the Lightning Network’s rail makes transferring funds to any of the initially covered countries an almost costless exercise. According to a recent World Bank Migration and Development Brief, the cost of sending funds to the Sub-Saharan Africa region is currently the highest globally.
Direct Deposits to Recipient’s Account
To overcome this obstacle of cost, as well as the other challenges associated with sending funds across borders, Strike has partnered with an African payments platform called Bitnob. Meanwhile, in arguing the case for the new feature, Jack Mallers, the founder and CEO of Strike, said:
High fees, slow settlement, and lack of innovation in cross-border payments have negatively impacted the developing world. With exorbitant fees to transfer funds in and out of Africa and incumbent providers halting services, payments companies are struggling to operate in Africa and people cannot send money home to their family members.
Mallers said through Strike, users intending to send funds to any of the three countries now have an opportunity “to transfer their US dollars easily and instantly across borders.” When using the new feature, payment to any of the three countries is instantly converted to the respective country’s currency and deposited into the recipient’s bank or mobile money account.
The statement said Strike will continue to expand its payment service to Africa via integrations and partnerships with cross-border payment providers like Chipper Cash.
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Terence Zimwara is a Zimbabwe award-winning journalist, author and writer. He has written extensively about the economic troubles of some African countries as well as how digital currencies can provide Africans with an escape route.
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