Today, SMS Software, Inc announced the public launch for its CoinText service that enables anyone with a mobile phone to send and receive the cryptocurrency Bitcoin Cash (BCH) without Internet by using Short Message Service (SMS).
This beta release is limited to the English version of CoinText in the following countries: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden, and Netherlands. The full list of regions with access numbers can be found at ltc.cointext.io.
“CoinText is the easiest and most powerful way to spread the use of Bitcoin Cash because it works with any type of mobile phone and you don’t need any knowledge of cryptocurrency to use it,” said co-founder and CTO Vin Armani.
CoinText is a software wallet with an SMS communication layer. It doesn’t require users to register, download an app, or even own a smartphone. Because users communicate with their BCH wallet through text messages, CoinText works on every mobile platform including Apple, Android, Samsung, and Microsoft. It is also the only global cryptocurrency wallet that works on feature phones (dumbphones), which could have an impact in developing nations.
Nearly two thousand people signed up at CoinText to be the first to have a chance to try the service. New users get a wallet by texting a valid command to CoinText, or when someone sends BCH to their phone number via text message.
The first users who text the word CASH to an access number will receive free Bitcoin Cash valued at $.50 (fifty cents USD) while supply lasts. The adoption faucet is funded by donations from the Bitcoin Cash community and 100% of funds go directly to new users.
“Money, or currency, has always been the killer app for Bitcoin, not merely a store of value,” Armani added. “CoinText is delivering the original promise of permissionless, borderless money to the unbanked around the world.”
SMS payments are not new. Financial services company M-Pesa does billions of SMS transactions every year in Africa. Apple Pay also recently added an SMS pay feature for iPhone users. Early Bitcoin projects Coinapult and BitPesa pioneered SMS transfers in the cryptocurrency industry.
In order to be competitive, CoinText leverages Bitcoin Cash’s instant transaction speed (0-conf), sub-one-cent network fees, and on-chain settlements, which the Bitcoin (BTC) network no longer supports.
The CoinText wallet is controlled with simple SMS commands like BALANCE, RECEIVE and SEND. And texting HELP reveals all of the commands.
The command to send BCH from one phone to another in the United States looks like this:
SEND $1 18005556060.
To send BCH from a phone to a Bitcoin Cash address requires the command:
SEND $1 1BeNrgvtsqee2zYF4no7UV5uMe1MNx5fhS
Users in countries outside the United States, Canada and Australia must replace the dollar symbol with the symbol for their local currency. See full wallet instructions here.
For security, all SEND messages are protected by two-factor authentication only available on the user’s mobile device.
CoinText never holds funds. All transactions are settled directly on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain in the user’s wallet. CoinText has no ability to modify or censor transactions and cannot recover funds if users lose their phone or phone number. If users prefer more sovereignty, they may also retrieve the private key for their CoinText wallet.
CoinText collects a fee equivalent to around $.05 (five cents USD) on SEND messages. This fee remains constant no matter how much perceived value of Bitcoin Cash is moved from one wallet to another. The fee may be different from one region to another.
CoinText will gather feedback from the beta test in order to deliver to a robust tool in at least fifty-four countries with over 5.1 billion people by the end of the calendar year 2018.
“If everything goes smoothly, we’ll launch the next wave of access numbers in April and May, including the first language translations,” Armani added.
CoinText is a for-purpose project to deliver Bitcoin Cash to anyone with a mobile phone. Instantly transacting BCH without Internet or a smartphone opens untapped opportunities around the world. The CoinText wallet provides the foundation for SMS Software, Inc to develop a full suite of tools where transacting over SMS is necessary or beneficial including merchant and charity solutions, counterfeit-proof voting, sports betting and gaming, smartlocks, cashless ATM and vending machines, and much more.