Citizens in Africa are using new and exciting ways to get paid without having internet access.
Thanks to South African software developer Kgothatso Ngako, Forbes reported, the people of Africa can make bitcoin peer-to-peer transactions with Machankura, the new solution that makes Bitcoin access easy even if they’re not online.
In tech terms, it provides access to the Lightning Network through an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data interface, utilizing mobile phones’ Subscriber Identity Module telecommunication network.
Machankura is a hit. It’s being used by approximately 3,000 users in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Namibia. Program director at the educational initiative Qala Africa, Femi Longe, said Africans really need to reconsider traditional currency.
“Africans need to think about bitcoin in their context and how it could be used to solve the problems that they face,” Longe said.
A demo on YouTube shows exactly how it works.
Machankura is a great start but there is more work to be done in this space–tural and underdeveloped areas still need ways to gain access—but it offers a business advantage for researchers looking to reach the 2.9 billion people that lack reliable internet access, according to the International Telecommunications Union.
Cryptocurrency brings a financial gain to Africa because of their minimum transaction fees and high security—a “means of storing wealth and a means of obtaining credit Incentives to save and invest,” according to Pulse Ghana. It also helps reduce the cost of international money transfers, which makes it easier for Africans living abroad to send money home to their families and vice versa.
Though it’s in the early stages, Machankura hosts a Lightning-friendly bitcoin wallet offering, allowing users to send to a wallet, giving a user name or phone number. They can also choose to send to any other Lightning wallet using a Lightning address. If approved, the user will receive a screen message explaining the successful payment and showing the Lightning address that received the funds.