“Bitcoin is better money,” Vin Armani, founder and chief technology officer of Cointext, said in an online statement. “Many Turks and Argentinians already understand this due to high inflation. We are excited to provide tools to help them use cryptocurrency.”
The U.S. fintech startup claims that its Cointext wallet, which facilitates BCH transactions via text message, does not require an internet connection, additional apps, special accounts or passwords, “making it very easy to introduce new people to cryptocurrency.”
Cointext said the service works on all types of mobile phones, including old Nokia flip phones. “If your phone can send and receive SMS messages with your telecom service, you can use Cointext,” the company explained.
Cryptocurrency use is soaring in the face of the deteriorating economic situation in Argentina and Turkey. Enthusiasts often cite the two countries as prime examples of the folly of excessive state economic control. This year, the Argentine peso and Turkish lira have fallen sharply against the U.S. dollar. On a year-to-date basis, the peso is down about 60 percent, while the lira has fallen approximately 40 percent.
Annual inflation in the two countries is at its highest in years. According to official estimates, inflation peaked in August at 34.4 percent in Argentina. In Turkey, it hit 24.5 percent in September, its highest point in 15 years. However, U.S. economist Steve Hanke has said that he believes both figures have been severely understated. In his own estimation, annual inflation is running at 66 percent in Turkey and 116 percent in Argentina.
In light of these issues, a growing number of people in the two countries have started looking to cryptocurrencies as a safe haven, to help them store value and make overseas payments. In Turkey, for example, investors continue to flee the plunging lira in favor of bitcoin. And in Argentina, about 30 bitcoin ATMs are expected to be installed throughout the country by the end of this year. Chicago-based Athena Bitcoin started operating the country’s first bitcoin ATM at a shopping mall in Buenos Aires in September.
Virtual currencies present an incredible opportunity for people in Argentina and Turkey to freely and quickly conduct transactions on their own terms, and Cointext appears eager to cash in on rising demand. “Before Cointext, you had to download a software wallet or join an exchange to get your first cryptocurrency,” said Armani. “And to onboard your friends, you had to convince them to do the same process. Now you can just text money to their phone.”
The Cointext wallet can be controlled with simple text commands. Users can send funds to domestic and foreign mobile phone numbers. By simply entering a 2FA code, individuals can ensure that their transactions are quickly settled on the BCH blockchain.
In its press materials, Cointext describes itself as a company that is “built on a foundation designed for a full suite of cryptocurrency solutions including touchless payments, streaming money, and for the Internet of Things.”