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Machankura, a South African word for “money,” is an SMS based service and South Africa’s first USSD service spread across Africa enabling people to send bitcoin P2P using their phone numbers on USSD. This is widely available on feature phones and is becoming very popular across the African continent. This gives those without internet access an opportunity to transact with bitcoin.
The service is available in countries like Ghana (*920*8333#), Kenya (*483*8333#), Malawi (*347*8333#), South Africa (*134*382*382#). Uganda (*284*8333#), Tanzania (*149*46*26#), Zambia (*384*8333#), Nigeria (*347*8333#) and most recently in Namibia, (*142*8333#). Machankura turns your phone into a Lightning wallet which allows you to send and receive bitcoin with just your mobile number.
On the achievement of getting Machankura available in Namibia, Millicent Odife, the news lead at Satoshi’s Journal, had a chat with Kgothaso Ngako, the founder and developer of the app. He has the belief that internet access is one of the complications in Africa, hence the decision to create an SMS-based solution to accept and use bitcoin easily.
While onboarding with MTCNamibia and TelecomNamibia, an internet service provider in Namibia, Kgothaso Ngako mentioned that it already allows users access the 8333.mobi website with a browser and paid internet connectivity to access the website. He said both services provide customers with a GSM connection with multiple ways users can send and receive messages. However, the only issue with the GSM connection is that a service would need to directly integrate with each network before messages can be sent or received from the service of the telecoms users. This affects both feature phone and smartphone users, as GSM connections are supported on both types of phones.
Machankura makes use of USSD gateway providers to aid the integration of the service with the telecom and to ease the work required to integrate multiple telecoms across the continent. Today, users in Namibia have been onboarded and have begun to enjoy the simple and seamless means of sending and receiving bitcoin.
Machankura is currently working on adding more integrations to make it possible for anyone to do more with bitcoin.
This is a guest post by Millicent. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Satoshi’s Journal or Satoshi’s Entertainment Company.