SMS 4 SATS
sms4sats.com was launched over a year ago:
SMS activation codes are the proof of work equivalent for registration with an online service. They're a standard feature to stop people from registering a large number of accounts. After all, it takes at least some amount of money and resources to setup a sim card and maintain it. In some countries, it even requires a government ID. So it makes sense companies require them to activate services or enable additional resources for users who sign up for free.
On the other side, phone numbers that are tied to email addresses or other PII is a fantastic honey pot that offer huge prize to any scammer (or advertiser). So it's only natural that regular people that are even slightly privacy conscious would look for solutions to work around this problem of "needing to receive an activation code to use service X".
This is why I originally wrote and launched my "receivesms" service on kriptode.com in December, 2018, and again why @qecez and I launched sms4sats.com. We knew this was helpful to people since day 1, because we ran into this exact problem ourselves many times. And we could tell this was a useful service for many. How many? Let's see some numbers:
Out of 29k visitors, we've had 5748 sms activation orders, and out of those we've successfully received and relayed 3627 activation codes (%63 fulfillment rate).
My favorite stat is the fact that average time on page is ~40 seconds because that's usually how long it takes to:
- Select country + service
- Pay the Lightning invoice
- Share the phone number to the service
- Receive the activation code
And that's all. That's how everything on the internet should work.
Except it doesn't. Sometimes our providers suck. Because after all we use SMS partners to receive these codes. These providers go offline, they offer banned phones, they don't receive codes or they don't send codes they receive. They run out of numbers for a country or a service. You get the idea.
Ideally of course, we would like to build modem farms with eSIMs from all countries and run it ourselves but unfortunately we don't have the means to do that (yet).
All we can do is find "some sly roundabout way" to somehow have phones all over the world and relay sms activation codes from them. This almost always means we need to outsource this part of our job to entrepreneurial individuals, because they always find a way to do it cheaper and better.
SMS 4 Sats App
Solution to outsourcing SMS receiving and relaying is a very simple Android app. It allows anyone to join sms4sats as a provider, using a simple phone and sim, so you can receive activation codes for others and get paid to do it! It's pretty simple:
The idea is that you would go and a get a cheap phone (or use one of the old phones in one of your boxes, next to the usb cables), get the cheapest phone plan, (no need for data connection if you have wifi), activate the service and earn sats.
1- Put the sim card in, make sure phone can receive SMS and has an active internet connection, install and launch sms4sats app.
2- Enter the phone number of the active sim, set an sms backup folder on the phone and activate earning!
3- Phone will contact sms4sats backend and register as a provider, a test activation code will be relayed to ensure everything is in order.
Once initial activation is done, you can let that phone sit somewhere, make sure it doesn't run out of battery and internet and that's all.
For each SMS activation code you successfully relay to other users you earn 2500 sats. This is subject to change as we onboard providers and hear back from users. In the future it's highly likely the pricing will be dynamic based on supply & demand but for now we wanted to go with something simple. Feel free to reach out with any comments/feedback on telegram or email.
You can withdraw your earnings immediately over Lightning Network with any wallet that supports lnurl-withdraw, and if you use a wallet that supports balance check, it's even easier because your lnurl-withdraw code is reusable.
Note that both the app and the provider network is very experimental at the moment, there will be regular updates to the app and there could be breaking changes but it's a start. There are already a few providers active, hopefully we can grow the network, offer a valuable service to others and earn a few sats!