MELD has seen explosive engagement over the last year with its ISPO launch through to its vision of banking the 2 billion individuals currently unbanked and the plethora of services it aims to offer them. Navigating such a technically complex and political landscape however brings about its challenges. To help with this, MELD has been cultivating strategic partners in order to facilitate their vision and unify the ecosystem.
Here I break down some of these incredibly exciting partnerships.
If you are familiar with the Cardano ecosystem you have probably heard the phrase ‘To bank the unbanked, you must first connect the unconnected’. This is World Mobile’s vision starting with Africa. With the $15 trillion currently locked out of the global economy, you may have thought, why have telecom giants not already tapped into this honeypot of global wealth? Truth is, they’ve been trying for years, however the issue is complex and requires a unique business model to cater to the developing world.
Connectivity isn’t the only issue here! According to an article published by the World Economic Forum Aug 2019, about 35% of individuals in Sub Saharan Africa do not have access to the internet (“Coverage Gap”) however, over 40% of individuals ARE connected but do not use it (“Usage Gap”). Similar statistics apply all over the world. In South Asia alone there is a ‘Usage Gap’ of about 56%, much higher than the ‘Coverage Gap’ of 12%. These figures clearly highlight there are other barriers to entry, and connecting the unconnected is simply not enough!
The three main barriers to internet usage for the unconnected are Affordability, Lack of Digital Skills and Lack of Content in Local Languages.
The biggest of these barriers is affordability. Handsets, data and energy costs are simply too high for some of the poorest people on the planet. Although cost reductions are always improving, poor people who struggle to even eat will always spend their money on more pressing commodities.
Lack of Digital Skills and Literacy
If you can’t read, write or have never used technology before, a reality for millions in poor nations, it comes as no surprise that such individuals would never be drawn or even be capable of interacting with any service.
Lack of Content in Local Languages
Even if you are adept at technology and can afford connectivity and usage, if you can't understand a language you simply won’t interact.
Combining these three barriers creates an almost impenetrable entry to internet usage.
These hurdles are actually somewhat more important to address because as connectivity is brought to more people, it is imperative they do not fall short of the problems highlighted by the ‘Usage Gap’.
As well as connecting the unconnected, World Mobile uses a unique business model enabled only through blockchain technology, which aims to address and penetrate ‘Usage Gap’ barriers.
World Mobile’s unique business model, allows local business owners in unconnected regions to run air nodes, bringing connectivity to their local community whilst earning and sharing rewards. This sharing economy incentivises individuals to use the network more, increasing their rewards. Local node operators, incentivised by earning through increased usage, educate the local community that are lacking in digital confidence and literacy.This in turn propagates and creates an incredible self perpetuating network effect as already demonstrated in Tanzania in 2020, where a smart village was left unaided with an airnode during the pandemic and grew several magnitudes in just a few months through connectivity and trade.
This new and unique business model builds the network from the ground up, using and incentivising the people who use it, to grow it for their own benefit and not for the profit of corporate giants.
Of course just being connected is no fun if there are no services to interact with, and that’s where MELD comes in!
MELD’s partnership with World Mobile capitalizes on this unique business model that encompasses not only the unconnected but also covering the ‘Usage Gap’. This exciting collaboration will see ground breaking financial instruments and services that are easy to interact with, on the World Mobile network potentially reaching millions of people.
World Mobile customers will have access to MELD’s DeFi services enabling them to access loans at low or zero interest rates. The poorest people in the world often pay the highest fees, so such a financial revelation could see a paradigm shift and a new generational wave of people interacting with the world’s best financial service.
As we see the DeFi space evolve and grow, partnering with projects that share similar values and sharing their specific expertise offers a mutually enhanced operation, directly benefiting the community and being one step closer in the goal of improving people's lives.
The opinions shared within this article are those solely of the MELD Ambassador. Note that the content within should not be considered financial, legal, or tax advice. Neither the author nor MELD Labs PTE Ltd. are financial, legal or tax advisors. None of this content should be used to make any form of financial, tax, or legal decisions. Do your own research and consult professionals as needed for official policies, restrictions, and requirements in your jurisdiction.
If you believe in the MELD vision, want to support this initiative, and want to help promote the future of finance then we want you to join the MELD Ambassador Program!