London-based tech firm ONEm Communications Ltd on Thursday introduced a cryptocurrency accessible without Internet connection and operable through SMSes.
Called mCoin, the currency aims for the unbanked community lacking facilities to access the internet, the company said.
"Based on bitcoin blockchain, mCoin will enable three billion people around the world without Internet access to participate in the digital revolution and acquire cryptocurrency," Christopher Richardson, chief executive of ONEm, said in a statement. "Non-Internet users will be able to access a virtual wallet via SMS, using the ONEm platform, giving them access to their mCoins and doing away with the need to access the internet or mobile data."
According to the company, mCoin can reach 261 million users around the world from ONEm-connected mobile networks in 13 countries. It also said the company has an algorithm to ensure that the total supply of the currency does not exceed 32 billion mCoins over 34 years. "These mCoins can be used to carry out transactions with ONEm commerce services," it said in a statement.
Founded in 2012, ONEm has deployed a platform allowing users to access content and applications without any supportive need of data or Wi-Fi running on phones and tablets.
Others minting virtual coins
The cryptocurrency sector has seen a lot of other companies baking e-commerce and other services into their virtual coins.
US cryptocurrency firm Graft has been working to overcome two of the biggest obstacles to the mainstream adoption of virtual currencies – long wait times and high transaction costs at the point of sale.
Indonesian blockchain startup Pundi X has also shown interest in setting up a point-of-sale network in India later this year to help create an offline channel for cryptocurrencies.