”We believe that every single human on this planet has the right to access
the Internet to contribute to the world at large. We have seen the greatest
scientific marvels of our time – we have seen the man land on the Moon,
we have seen atom being split, we now can print human organs and put
them inside of people’s bodies, we can correct vision via lasers but yet
…still half of the world is unconnected.”
It all dates back a few years ago when an author of the above quote and the CEO at World Mobile Group Micky Watkins travelled to Scotland to see the IOHK’s PlutusFest in December of 2018 where he first met the founder of Cardano Charles Hoskinson and that’s how an idea to form a business partnership was originally born. The gentlemen immediately ‘clicked’ and together recognized the potential of unlocking Africa’s untapped human resources with its vastness of talent being wasted. Hoskinson said:
”Very few people are banked and too, very few people are reliably connected so what we can bring to the table is a wonderful tool-box of services to help
with the economic identity and banking side. We are building it for the bottom
3 billion, the ones that are having a lot of trouble and they can’t integrate and
globalize properly. As a consequence they are getting left behind.”
CO-OPERATION POISED TO COME TO FRUITION
The following two and a half years were spent planning, hypothesizing and working behind the scenes to ultimately reveal the ambitious project to a wider public at the Cardano Summit which took place over the last weekend of this past September. Both CEOs share a vision consisting of giving Zanzibar self data governance, economic freedom of choice and in the end cashing in on transactions in a more fair and balanced fashion. All required elements and components in respect of technology already exist so there is no need to reinvent the wheel. COO & Co-Founder at World Mobile Alan Omnet:
”Blockchain is a game changer. Telecom operators were looking at it and seeing
how to fit it in to the current operation. So, on our network, as for the blockchain
operations, you are rewarded for running the nodes and validating transactions
but in addition to that, you also earn rewards for providing other services:
communication services, network service on top of the blockchain operations.”
What’s next to be done on the ground is laying down the necessary infrastructure (solar electricity and mobile) in the first 25 sites in Zanzibar in order to create and power a mobile network covering the entire Unguja Island. Once all of that gets done, farther steps include extending the World Mobile’s services to mainland Tanzania’s 18 million unconnected citizens. Incredible real life use case for the crypto rolling out in front of our eyes, hopefully to start as soon as this year and continue the process of adoption into 2022 and beyond. The innovative mobile network’s CEO concludes:
”Cardano: technology, ethos, work ethic: they are the leaders in this space,
decentralization protocols, backed by the IOHK… There was no other choice,
it’s a symbiotic relationship. Connect the unconnected, bank the unbanked.
That’s why Cardano.”
Regardless of whether one is or is not an enthusiast of Cardano, it has got be great to see blockchain technology being leveraged in business applications on such a large scale, especially in places where millions and potentially even hundreds of millions of people could truly experience a life-changing benefit to their prosperity.
After years of building a foundation in Africa, Cardano and its developer Input Output Global (IOG) have been making considerable progress on the region. On April 30th, 2021, the company announced its partnership with World Mobile, a mobile network to connect millions and provide millions with “affordable” local internet connections.
At the beginning of July, the CEO of World Mobile Micky Watkins talked with Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson on the reasons that make Africa ideal for the partnership. Watkins acknowledged the high demand in the region to access the internet. Hoskinson added:
Internet is so much more than utility – it’s a human condition. It allows us to talk to eachother, connect with eachother, share ideas, and it’s the single biggest driver of change throughout the world. It spreads freedom, financial freedom, economic identity.
The partnership will build a network on top of Cardano and its blockchain infrastructure which will include IOG’s Atala PRISM solution. In a more recent interview with Delphi Digital, Watkins discussed how World Mobile combines a range of technologies leveraging a distributed infrastructure on the blockchain and a token supported for IOG.
A Scalable Solution On Cardano For A Problem Affecting Millions
In the interview, the COOs of World Mobile Alan Omnet and Andrew Soper also answer some questions on why they chose Cardano for the project. Omnet revealed that they considered other networks, such as Ethereum, but they believe that the transition from a proof-of-work consensus to a proof-of-stake could bring issues.
In addition, they called Cardano a more scalable network. The project and the platform have found themselves at a “right time”, as the network prepares to deploy its smart contract capabilities around September 2021 with the third and final hard fork combinator (HFC) event “Alonzo”. Omnet said:
(Cardano) has been formally proven that it’s going to work when it goes live, and when you’re building a financial network and the financial system and foundational infrastructure, you want to know that it is going to work from the start.
The platform’s commercial side was another appealed for World Mobile, as IOG has been growing a team on Africa for a while with close relationships with local governments, educating the population, and training local human talent. On their implementation, Omnet clarified that they are building a hybrid public-private chain.
Cardano will be the public component and the World Mobile Chain, running as a side chain, the private. The former will also operate as the public financial settlement layer, the latter as the distributed data layer. The project is on its latest iteration, integrating the latest changes introduced on Cardano by the previous HFC events.
So now we’re integrating that. It’s planned to be complete by the end of the year with the digital ID and full commercial rollout. So we’re not dependent on a smart contract piece to launch. However, we will add smart contracts as they become available.
Watkins added that the partnership was formed from two different visions, but with a common goal. IOG seeks to bank the unbanked, and World Mobile connects the unconnected. Plutus is well on its way for launch by late 2021 with Alonzo moving forwards on its testnet.
In the meantime, World Mobile continues to consolidate partnerships in different sectors. Via their Twitter handle, the company announced a new partnership with Fulham FC, one of the most important football clubs in London. Watkins said the following on the cooperation, calling it a major accomplishment for the blockchain industry:
We are so excited to begin this partnership with Fulham FC. It’s crucial to us that we share the same values as our partners, and we’re confident that based on Fulham FC’s history, we have a shared viewpoint. This partnership will help spread the word on our mission to connect Africa and beyond, giving everyone an opportunity to get involved.