BlockMesh, a local tech firm with offices in South Africa and Mauritius, has developed a functional blockchain-based peer-to-peer payments system that can be used offline to make transactions.
“Right now, very few cryptocurrencies can be spent without a robust data connection, this is problematic for the developing world with limited access to internet and data, BlockMesh are focused on creating a peer-to-peer payments system using a cryptocurrency that can be used offline. Our technology is in the Alpha development stage and we have a working product being tested,” said Bjorn Guido Dingemans, co-founder and chief executive of BlockMesh, referring to the MeshCover phone cover they’ve recently patented.
To create an offline system, the company has leveraged its expertise in wireless mesh networking. Wireless mesh networking allows for a series of smart devices to connect with each other via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, such that information can be securely relayed from one device to the next until the intended recipient is reached. The network is essentially cost-free and offline in that users do not have to pay for their own data or internet connections but can rather piggy-back off of one another.
“Our network sutures all users’ Wi-Fi together, which allows us to turn high density cities into high density offline systems. Our hardware allows us to extend the range of the network by as much as 15 to 20 kilometres and even create a long-range bubble of 1.5 square kilometres, in which people can communicate with each other via our app without data or sim cards,” he said.
Much like the Uber model, he went on to explain that BlockMesh would allow users “to turn the expense of an internet connection into an asset” in that it would pay users who allow others to piggy-back off their internet connections in Mesh Tokens. In fact, for every MB off data passed through the system, users will also earn BlockMesh Tokens.
BlockMesh Tokens form a blockchain-based utility token created by the company. Dingemans said that BlockMesh had created two billion Mesh Tokens, of which one billion would be distributed to users over a ten-year period.
Upon the launch of its Android app in the coming months, users will be able to transact with each other in BlockMesh Tokens for example buying and selling excess mobile data. The company also plans to partner with retailers such that BlockMesh Tokens can eventually be redeemed in-store for everyday items such as bread and milk.
Given the penetration of smart devices, especially mobile phones in South Africa, BlockMesh expects its network to connect the unconnected including those who live in areas with poor mobile coverage. It also expects its app and BlockMesh Tokens to improve participation in the financial system.
BlockMesh is planning a capital raise via an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) on February 28. Through the ICO, it will sell 10% of the company to interested parties, the proceeds of which will be used for growth-enhancing initiatives.
Brought to you by BlockMesh.