Machankura is a platform that allows you to buy goods, send and receive bitcoin via the Lightning Network without the need for internet or smartphone. The services is currently available in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Uganda.
For wider bitcoin adoption in Africa and especially in the rural areas where old feature phones are common, USSD platforms allow access to rapid exchange of data – up to seven times faster than SMS. Its interactive navigation allows for faster two-way communication. No internet connection or data bundles needed. As an inclusive technology, USSD codes work across all your cellular networks.
How Does Machakura Work?
Every registered user can send and receive Bitcoin to their phone number from other Machankura users or to their machankura lightning address.
Machankura users will just need a phone and sim card, that’s it. They will have to dial the USSD code for supported countries, then a screen will appear for you to create your account. You need to create a Machankura account by entering a five digit pin. Once your account is active, you can do the following:
- Send bitcoin
- Receive bitcoin
- Account balance and history
- Buy goods and services using your bitcoin
USSD code to be used are as follows: *920*8333# (Ghana), *483*8333# (Kenya), *384*8333# (Malawi), *347*8333# (Nigeria), *134*382*382# (South Africa), *384*8333# (Zambia) and *284*8333# (Uganda).
Your phone number acts a public address. However, if you don’t want to publicly share your phone number to receive bitcoin, you can set a username in this format: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The author of this article has not personally tested Machankura platform.
Benefits of Machankura
Benefits of bitcoin via USSD and lightning include the following:
- USSD does now not require internet connection or data bundle to send or receive bitcoin.
- The Lightning Network is the fastest and cheapest way of sending or receiving bitcoin.
- USSD works on all mobile networks and old feature telephones (dumb phones). Not every person in Africa owns a smartphone to be able to buy and sell Bitcoin
- USSD is interactive and fast two-way exchange and interaction than SMS.
- USSD is extremely cost effective for Machankura to run.
- Sim swap may not have an effect so long as you have got your pin. You also are able reset your pin.
Disadvantages of Machankura
- Machankura is a custodial wallet. Your bitcoins are kept by Machankura. You currently can’t move them to a non-custodial wallet such as Muun.
“Not your keys, not your coins.” We strongly warn you from keeping your bitcoin in a custodial wallet. With a custodial wallet, a third party as control of your private keys while with a non-custodial wallet, you have sole control of your private keys.
- Your bitcoins are not insured.
- Fees are 1%, likely to go down in future.
- No data privacy. Government and other third parties can still track your transactions.
This is a guest post by Langa Chiruka. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Bitcoin for Fairness (BFF). Any post regarding a product or service is not necessarily an endorsement from Bitcoin for Fairness.