Global Web3 connectivity initiatives continue in the face of market declines

Despite the cryptocurrency bear market, interest in Web3 remains high as more companies shift into a new internet that puts consumers and their data first. Among the many industries that are migrating into Web3 is the connectivity industry, which sees opportunities for streamlined connectivity through NFT subscription models and ease of access in developing nations.

Why NFTs?

NFTs have made the news in recent years for their role in the art world, but the use cases for the technology behind digital ownership are far-reaching and impactful across several industries. Non-fungible tokens have many purposes which offer solutions to common problems. They establish digital ownership, enabling users to purchase and sell goods online like never before. With that, NFTs enable users to own their user data for services that are otherwise centralized because there is no need for exchanging data in order to establish ownership.

3air, a blockchain based internet startup, recently introduced connectivity NFTs to provide broadband internet subscriptions to users that can be bought, shared and transferred on a blockchain platform.

Connecting Africa

NFT subscriptions to connectivity platforms could solve many of the issues in developing areas like Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, the region has only 170 million users connected to the internet via mobile technologies, reaching nearly 18% of the population. Broadband connectivity is significantly more difficult to come across; in 2019, only 0.58% of the population had broadband access. Cities were built without cabling in mind, and if potential users live outside of a coastal city, they might never have had the option.

This lack of connectivity also contributes to the sheer number of bankless individuals in the region, with roughly 63% of the population of the region going bankless today. This lack of access to financial services is a huge barrier to entry for connecting these users to the global economy. Having access to banking accounts makes purchasing and selling anything on the internet near-impossible with Web2’s banking and payment services.

Challenges in enabling connectivity

One of the many challenges in connecting Africa is the infrastructure. Companies that run off of fiber optic cables have, in the past, struggled to service more remote regions that may be harder to get to—either due to extreme climates and geography or sheer distance. Connectivity remains challenging throughout the African continent, especially inland or in areas that are far from urban cities. Even in cities, wireless connectivity is expensive and unattainable to the bulk of African citizens that would need to connect to the internet.

One way to solve this issue is through wireless meshing. This allows telecom companies to blanket regions with wireless connectivity by placing service extenders equidistant from one another to boost the range of one server across a large range.

Finding solutions

Wireless mesh networks let telecom companies expand the range of an internet service, and can combine with blockchain technology to incentivize individual users to host their own servers and boost the signal of an area for profit. Beyond making the internet decentralized, blockchain can physically decentralize the internet by allowing individual users to become their own service provider and provide connectivity to more people in their area.

NFT subscriptions allow users to purchase their own subscriptions and act as the owners of that subscription, rather than exchanging their data for access to a service. Once connected to the internet, unbanked individuals can use Web3 to access the DeFi landscape and enter the global economy without having to rely on centralized intermediaries like government banks. In places where banks are often unreliable, blockchain can provide financial equity for all.

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