Smart contract capabilities changed the world of crypto for the better. With new use cases, emerging services on decentralized networks enable a future where the internet is more equitable and accessible than ever before.
For many people living and working in places with high internet penetration rates, fast internet connections are a given part of everyday life. Any device you have can connect to Wi-Fi or broadband, whether it be a phone, tablet, computer, or any other IoT device. You pay for a subscription for your home internet and your cell, which may even be bundled in the same contract. In those countries, especially in metropolitan areas, the internet just works, and you can connect nearly anywhere.
Connectivity in African countries
The same cannot be said for connectivity throughout Africa. Only 22% of Africa has internet access, which is significantly lower than most other places throughout the globe. Urban and coastal areas are often the only places with good internet access, and wireless access is expensive throughout the continent. Even if you have internet service, it can be notoriously unreliable, or simply slow and outdated.
There is an increasing number of companies trying to bridge this gap. A company called 3air is working to bring high-speed, broadband internet access to African nations and onboard nearly 1 billion unbanked, unconnected individuals to the web3 space. The company is one of the many startups using smart contracts in traditional industries.
Connectivity and Blockchain
3air aims to bring Sub-Saharan Africa’s internet development up to modern standards. Using K3 Telecom’s Last Mile technology, it will deploy internet centers in major cities across the continent. According to the company, this technology has already been proven to work and deployed in nine countries across three continents.
To provide the service, the company will use an NFT-based subscription model, allowing users to transfer and sell their service as desired without needing to work through contracts that would otherwise lock them in for years. NFTs aren’t only used for selling expensive images; they have a purpose as a unique identifier token that can designate ownership digitally.
When NFTs are used as a subscription model, the customer buys a token, and that token provides them with internet service. Users can use the token as they please; if they no longer wish to pay for the service, they can sell it on a decentralized marketplace or transfer it to another owner, such as a family member.
Solving local challenges with global solutions
In addition, 3air’s blockchain has community-focused tokens, which allow subscribers to vote on what they want their money to be spent on, giving them a direct voice for the development of their community.
Africa is plagued by another issue; the significant portion of unbanked individuals. Paying for services, obtaining loans, and saving money is much more difficult without a bank. In Africa, 350 million individuals do not have access to any bank, including mobile banks.
With this in mind, 3air aims to offer decentralized financing on its blockchain through microfinance. This microfinance will give users checking and savings accounts, provide small loans for businesses to get on their feet and give customers business education to further their own ventures as they desire.
We’re always on the lookout for web3 companies that provide solutions to real-world problems, so we’ll be watching the companies’ steps closely.