Strike CEO: El Salvador’s Bitcoin Experience ‘Doesn’t Hurt My Company at All’

Jack Mallers joined CoinDesk TV’s "First Mover" to discuss El Salvador, bitcoin and how the mobile payments app is working to change the payment system for merchants and consumers globally.

AccessTimeIconSep 29, 2022 at 7:11 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:50 p.m. UTC
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Jack Mallers, founder and CEO of mobile payment app Strike, said the slow pace of bitcoin (BTC) use in El Salvador shouldn't be tied to his company.

“It doesn’t hurt my company at all,” Mallers said on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” program Thursday.

“We have no commercial relationship [with El Salvador],” Mallers said. “There are no revenue projections based on advice I gave to a president of a country and it doesn’t hurt our company whatsoever.”

Mallers and the Chicago-based Strike were involved in El Salvador President Nayib Bukele’s ambitious vision to have more residents use bitcoin.

However, as CoinDesk’s David Z. Morris reported, one year after the country recognized bitcoin as legal tender acceptance has failed to live up to expectations.

Mallers said neither he nor Strike are “government consultants,” reiterating he and the company have “no commercial relationship with the government of El Salvador.”

He added, "Someone asked my help in conjunction with my opinion on bitcoin. I've been in this industry for close to 10 years and I've helped people that are 10 years old and I've helped governments, and I will continue to do it when I think it is in the best interest of the morals and principles that I was raised by."

Mallers described El Salvador’s effort to promote bitcoin "a success." However, he added, "you're talking about a country that's in an emerging market and has been historically crushed by inflation, crushed by central banks such as the [U.S.] Federal Reserve."

Despite the volatile crypto market, Mallers said he doesn’t think it is “hurting bitcoin’s opportunity as a store of value.” He also said he does not think volatility in bitcoin hinders its underlying technology from being used as a payment rail that can compete with payment behemoths like Visa and Western Union.

Mallers said the benefits that can come with using the Bitcoin network layer 2 protocol Lighting Network, including faster and cheaper transactions, is “a groundbreaking innovation.” Strike customers currently use the underlying payments system for the transfer of fiat currency, and Mallers expects the use of bitcoin to pick up dramatically over time.

“You have a digital instrument that can move at the speed of light and settle at virtually no cost,” Mallers said. Bitcoin “does something that payment networks have never been able to do in the history of payment networks.”

Strike most recently raised $80 million in a Series B funding round that included such notable institutions as Washington University and the University of Wyoming.

Funds raised will be used “to work with the biggest institutions in the world,” according to Mallers, who said the goal is “to get them onto the payment rail.”

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CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Fran Velasquez

Fran is CoinDesk's TV writer and reporter.


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