Machankura allows you to send, receive and use Bitcoin via SMS, even without internet

Machankura, a service developed by a South African, allows you to send, receive and use Bitcoin via SMS, no internet access required.

Friday, August 12, 2022 ((–

Expanding bitcoin adoption on the African continent will not only go through its declaration as legal tender, but also through easy and cheap access.

People’s opinions are colored by different perspectives, but mine is to paint a general picture of what Africans need: Africans want and will adopt any solution that can solve their problems in real time. Making payment rails less complex and as low-tech as possible is actually one of the prerequisites for financial inclusion and lowering access barriers for users in Africa.

Machankura, for example, is a bitcoin-centric payment solution that integrates Africa’s existing telecommunications infrastructure with bitcoin’s second-layer protocol, known as the Lightning Network, with the aim of promoting financial inclusion and offering an instant payment service in nooks and crannies. of Africa in a safe way. On the other hand, BitText is an open source Bitcoin project in the making that aims to realize the Machankura solution in a non-custodial way.

Let’s dive deeper into what this entails and understand why these solutions can work exceptionally well for Africans.

A feature phone is a category of mobile phones that retain the shape of previous generations of mobile phones, typically with button-based inputs and small non-touch screens. Smartphones, on the other hand, are portable computing devices that combine cell phone functions and computer functions in a single device. They differ from feature phones by their greater hardware capabilities and expanded mobile operating systems that allow for expanded software functionality.

Unlike many other parts of the world, where smartphones make up almost the entire market, landlines in Africa make up a significant share of the mobile phone market. Not surprisingly, “of the 40 to 50 million mobile phones shipped to Africa per quarter, more than half are feature phones,” according to Statista. In fact, smartphone shipments in the first quarter of 2022 were 19.7 million units, while nearly 22 million feature phones were shipped. The reasons behind this are not far-fetched: Smartphones are more expensive compared to feature phones, and a high percentage of the African population probably uses feature phones because they are more affordable, even if they lack the juicy features of smartphones.

Since a large part of the African population uses these devices, to promote the financial inclusion of this set of users in a decentralized manner, there is a need to create products that can be used on pocket phones. African Bitcoin developers realized that USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) technology works interoperably on landlines and smartphones and took the initiative to develop Machankura and BitText through this communication protocol.

Users can think of Machankura as similar to Wallet of Satoshi, but in its skeleton form without a bulky user interface. Instead of having a smartphone app, you interact with the wallet through the USSD menu. Machankura handles requests through its custom Application Package Interface (API) framework with Lightning Network. Users issue requests over mobile networks and not an internet connection, the request is then accepted and forwarded over the internet and the Lightning network through the Machankura database and existing Bitcoin and Lightning nodes.

As of this writing, Machankura appears to be doing well, and its website says it has coverage in at least six countries in Africa – Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda – with codes USSD and step-by-step instructions for use also included.

By entering one of these codes in these countries, users should be able to send or receive bitcoins, view their account information (balance and transaction history), or purchase goods or services.

Looking at how smartphone depatung works, they like to link your email address to your account for identification and recovery purposes, so you can install them on multiple devices or recover the account on a new device. In case of Machankura, it is connected to your phone number. If your phone or SIM card is stolen, it means that your money has also been stolen, or if someone trades with your phone number, they may have access to your money. You are expected to use Machankura as an incredible payment infrastructure rather than a long-term treasury product, with the expectation of anticipating the various improvements and updates as we move forward.

BitText appears to be an open source version of Machankura, throwing both hands in the air in anticipation of global contributions that can fix and improve this Bitcoin-on-USSD solution by better targeting ownership, security and privacy, as well as transaction interoperability with Layer 2 of the Bitcoin Lightning Network.

Bitcoin developers in Africa have embarked on an intense journey over the past two months, creating products aimed at solving Africans’ specific problems with settlement and payment systems while leveraging innovation.decentralized such as Bitcoin. These efforts led by various initiatives and the collective support of the plebeians and the African Bitcoin ecosystem deserve thanks.


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