Samourai Wallet Improves Censorship Resistance by Introducing Bitcoin Via SMS Wallet App

Faith Obafemi
Jan 22, 2018

Bitcoin being a digital currency requires a digital account to hold funds. For virtual currencies, this is something called a wallet. Over the years, various crypto wallets have been created to meet the needs of bitcoin users.

Since transactions involving bitcoins are conducted over the internet, this raises security issues. While the first point of worry would be malware and ransomware, few consider the government a threat. Yet, through internet censorship, the governments can monitor the activities of her citizens and clamp down on those going against its directives.

In the wake of some governments outlawing things like social media and even some countries banning cryptos, a solution or bypass is much desired.

One of the pioneers of a bitcoin privacy wallet, Samourai Wallet, have just released an app that lets you send bitcoins via the popular SMS known as text messaging. Samourai have registered their app as an intellectual property.

The new proprietary app called Pony Direct, let's you use SMS as an overlay to conduct Bitcoin transactions. Here's how T Dev D of Samourai Wallet explained it: “Pony Direct can be used to forward bitcoin transactions via SMS even when internet connections are blocked or shut down. Simply using the app to send a transaction via SMS to any cooperating and internet-connected Android device will effectively route around any internet censorship being practised where the sender is located.”


Explaining why the app can be found on GitHub in adherence to their open source ethos, T Dev D had this to say: “Pony Direct was developed in-house as a proof-of-concept app with the intention of open sourcing it to be an open invitation for developer participation in the Mule Tools project as a whole.”  

T Dev D gave a brief explanation of how SMS works within the Samourai Wallet: “The issue is that as SMS can only contain up to 160 characters, a way must be found to send as many SMS as possible to communicate the bitcoin transaction to the party capable of broadcasting it on the network. The first SMS in the sequence contains info on the total number of SMS in the series, the hash ID that must be matched at the end, a batch ID, a sequencing number, and a portion of the actual transaction hex. The following SMS contains a sequencing number, the batch ID, and more transaction hex data. Once the receiving device has accepted the expected number of SMS for the same batch from the same incoming number, the transaction data is extracted from each message and the entire transaction is re-assembled and pushed out to the bitcoin network.”

Currently, the project is still in Alpha status. T Dev D said, “Samourai is moving ahead with its roadmap and experiencing rapid growth during this period of mass media attention on the crypto-currency space.”

At the moment,  Pony Direct App is only available on Google Play store for Android devices. Plans are in place to release an iOS version soon.

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