World Mobile Token - Bridging The Digital Divide
Become a node operator and bring web connectivity to isolated communities.
Too often, crypto enthusiasts become too fixated on trading charts, ICOs or airdrops and forget (or are unaware to begin with) how the technology itself is bigger than the asset when it comes to what good it can do for humanity. Cryptocurrency as a store of value is just one application of the blockchain, and there are other more far-reaching potentials for the technology in improving our quality of life.
In our time, one such potential is being demonstrated by the World Mobile Token, a UK-based telecommunications project on the Cardano blockchain that is aiming to bring the Internet to isolated communities around the world. At the moment, they’re starting in Tanzania, East Africa, where they’re already making an impact in the lives of over 100,000 people in the fishing villages of Zanzibar, who previously could only dream of being connected to the rest of the world.
Which is ironic to say the least when we think about the bigger picture. Half of the world’s population (around four billion people) still don’t have access to the Internet, while video bloggers in developed countries have so much connectivity to know what to do with, they can afford to live stream themselves playing video games all day, binge eating or even—just sleeping. The disparity couldn’t be more stark, and it’s just about time that we do something with the technology to address the growing digital divide.
What is World Mobile?
World Mobile is a wireless network infrastructure, powered by blockchain technology and modeled as a sharing economy. This means that in contrast with corporate telecom providers, services will have no central point of failure, will be cheaper to deploy and operate, and will have rapid and expansive growth as anyone can take part in building and the network to supply connectivity to their own communities.
How does it work?
To illustrate more concretely, we have to point out the reason why far-flung communities remain isolated—corporate telecom providers simply cannot offset the costs of building towers and facilities, laying down hundreds of miles of cables across mountains, deserts or oceans just to reach a modest-sized population who do not have the purchasing power to afford their services in the first place. World Mobile works around these problems by relying on other readily available technology such as low-traffic frequencies of unused TV channels as well as free space optics, or LiFi (transmitting data to space via infrared light). To further cut down on energy costs, solar panels are used to power the routers instead of connecting to the main grid (which may not even exist in most remote areas).
An “air node” installation can thus be as simple as a wireless router running on a couple of solar panels at the end of a vertical pole. Each air node can connect between 500 to 700 users and costs around 7000 dollars²—a relatively low price within the purchasing power of community pools, or with the assistance of microfinancing programs.
Air node operators are incentivized to maintain their equipment and expand their operations by earning World Mobile Tokens (WMT) from transaction fees. Community subscribers can purchase WMT with their local fiat currency from partner stores which they can then use to top up their credit balances and maintain access.
An “air node” installation which can provide connectivity to a community of 500-700 users.
(Image credits: World Mobile Group via TechCrunch.com)
Meanwhile, operating an “earth node” means providing computational power for the user registry and authentication services, checking user credit balances, routing connections and updating the blockchain ledger. Running an earth node can be done from anywhere in the world.
Lastly, running an “aether node” provides the interface with legacy telecommunications networks, protocol translations and media transcoding, i.e. the backend programming which allows the World Mobile network to talk with the other established networks. A minimum of one aether node is required to provide service to a country.
All in all, the whole setup adds up to drastic expense cuts by avoiding costly taxes and licensing fees, operational expenditures, employed personnel and security, and costs of power supply², not to mention having to completely avoid time-wasting bureaucratic processes and barriers.
Holders of WMT can support the network by staking their tokens to a node operator of their choice. In doing so, they also earn a portion from the transaction fees paid to the node operator depending on the amount of WMT that they have staked.
Node operators are thus incentivized to compete for token holders, encouraging quality services and competitive resource pricing. The better the service the operators provide and the more users they cater to, the more WMT they can earn from transactions and the more token holders they will attract to support their nodes. Extra rewards are also given for meeting the specifications of a node quality grading system.
To mitigate risks, inflation rewards will also be shared among node operators and stakers to support the early stages of the network, the allocation of which will gradually decrease over time in the course of 20 years. Twenty-nine percent of the total supply of WMT is allocated for inflation rewards.
Projected network inflation over time.
Running an earth node requires a stake pool of 100,000 WMT after which operators are rewarded proportionately for the amount of contribution to the network. Operating an aether node on the other hand requires a stake pool of 1,000,000 WMT, with the rewards proportional for the amount of traffic that the node handles.
WMT will have a maximum supply of 2 billion tokens and is distributed as follows:
Node Operators (29%) — 580,000,000
Co-founders and Team (19.25%) — 385,000,000
Partnerships (7.85%) — 157,000,000
Private Sale (2.5%) — 50,000,000
Early Staking Rewards (2.5%) — 50,000,000
Operation Fund (18%) — 360,000,000
Public Sale (10%) — 200,000,000
Advisors (5.9%) — 118,000,000
Community Fund (2.0%) — 40,000,000
Incentive Rewards (3.0%) — 60,000,000
The World Mobile Group managed to raise $39 million in under five weeks during their public offering in September of last year, on top of $5 million in private sales.¹ But perhaps validation should come not from funding acquired but from real stories on the ground.
Micky Watkins, World Mobile CEO, recounts how in a remote island in Zanzibar, it had been the way of life for fishermen to dry the fish that could not make it to market in time, greatly reducing the value of their catch.
But in 2019, within only nine months of installing an air node in the island, fishermen were able to connect directly to buyers not only in the markets, but directly to restaurants and hotels, increasing their profits many times over. In fact, they had even begun exporting their catch all the way to Europe.¹
Spurred on by other such stories, the eGovernment Agency of Zanzibar (eGAZ) has recently accepted a partnership with the World Mobile Group in installing free-metered WiFi internet access at government offices, bus stops, airports, fish markets, hospitals and other public institutions.³ Such is the positive reception towards the technology that balloon company Altaeros was also reeled in to work with World Mobile in launching two tethered blimps that can provide coverage for 8,000 square kilometers in lieu of more expensive and impractical cell towers.⁴ The goal being—to turn Zanzibar from a mere impoverished fishing archipelago to “Africa’s blockchain hub”.
Without a doubt, the World Mobile Token is a project that people everywhere should be fully supporting, not just with the potential profit in mind, but simply because—it’s the right application for blockchain technology and the right thing to do.
¹World Mobile Wraps $39M Token Sale to Launch Mesh Network in Zanzibar
²World Mobile Group bringing Zanzibaris online through mobile network built on blockchain
³World Mobile to launch connectivity in public spaces to boost Zanzibar's GDP
⁴Altaeros partners with World Mobile for balloon-based network in Zanzibar