Dash Text – a subsidiary of the world’s 12th biggest cryptocurrency – has launched for users in Venezuela, allowing them to make and receive payments offline via SMS. It’s thought that up to 60% of Venezuelans don’t have internet-ready smartphones so the new Dash Text service will open up Dash’s platform to millions of additional users. The launch comes at a time when the South American state is slipping ever further into the economic mire with hyperinflation rampant and native fiat currency, the bolivar, all but worthless. Whilst adoption has been slow, ordinary Venezuelans are increasingly seeking out alternative means to store and transfer value.
The Dash Text system lets users create an account simply by texting “DASH” to a set number and then “CREAR” which creates a wallet. The service utilises a BlockCypher API which generates private and public keys on behalf of Dash Text users before securely disposing of the information it handles. This allows Dash Text users to safely interact with the Dash blockchain without an internet connection, meaning complete transactions can be made using only SMS messages. The new payment application will run in direct competition with the much maligned state cryptocurrency, the Petro, and will be available to customers of both Movistar and Digitel — two of Venezuela’s dominant telecoms providers.
The goal of the project is to make access to blockchain payment solutions as easy as possible for the people who will benefit the most from them, ie. the under-banked. Once implementation is finalised in Venezuela, the Dash Text team intend to expand through other areas of South America and Africa, with Ghana believed to be the new app’s next port of call.
Bradley Zastrow, Dash Core’s Global Head of Business Development, highlighted the unique economic and social predicament that the service is designed to tackle;
“Venezuelans living abroad send an estimated $2 billion USD back home in remittances … People need easy and cheap ways to send money home, and we’ve done it in a way that expands the Dash ecosystem to those without smartphones!”
As a result of the launch, the value of Dash has jumped by 7.56% in the last 24-hours. Let’s just hope that Dash Text does as much to improve the fortunes of the people using the service as it has the company that built it.