Lightning Network payments app Strike is now available on the App Store and Google Play Store to customers based in El Salvador, according to a release shared with Bitcoin Magazine.

“Launching in El Salvador as our first non-U.S. market was a strategic move,” Strike founder Jack Mallers said in the release. “No other fintech company can launch and operate in a market like this. This is only possible because Strike is built on Bitcoin, the world’s first open monetary network. Our success in El Salvador is replicable to billions of people that don’t have access to developed financial services.”

Strike launched its public beta in July 2020 and began an initiative to onboard more international users in January. But this is the first time the app has launched in a foreign country directly, giving users in El Salvador access to instant remittances to and from the United States and among their peers.

Strike has been working with El Salvador’s nonprofit Bitcoin Beach, a project to establish a bitcoin circular economy in the country. The Lightning Network can be a powerful platform for remittances, as it can transfer value nearly instantaneously, with no middlemen and without the typical expense of on-chain bitcoin transactions. Without a tool like Strike, those sending or receiving remittances in El Salvador incur significant fees from traditional providers like Western Union. Bitcoin can also be a new, deflationary savings tool for building wealth in the country.

Residents of El Zonte, El Salvador, where Bitcoin Beach is focused, along with members of the Strike team. Source: Strike.

Residents of El Zonte, El Salvador, where Bitcoin Beach is focused, along with members of the Strike team. Source: Strike.

“Past generations here lived the same life with no hope of improving our lives,” said Roman Centeno, a Bitcoin Beach volunteer, per the release. “We’ve never had access to tools like Strike or the ability to build wealth here. Bitcoin allows us to save and build wealth and with Strike, we are scanning the same QR codes here in El Salvador that everyone is scanning in Chicago and London.”

Strike has also released a closed beta to users in the EU, U.K., Canada and the Philippines, with the expectation that it will soon go public in more parts of the globe.