The blockchain telecom market was worth $151.9 million in 2019 and it’s projected to grow by 348%, hitting a milestone of $677.7 million by 2025. The emergence and exponential growth of the market is proof that blockchain technology is set to disrupt the world’s economy and all the established industries, one by one.
There are two ways one can react to this: by speculating on what the market can offer as it continues to grow astronomically, or finding ways to activate the benefits of the technology and key into the economic impacts such giant strides have for everyone.
Africa is a great example of the latter. The continent is at the forefront of blockchain industrial disruptions and is currently a major investment destination for emerging blockchain internet providers. But what exactly does Africa and the world at large stand to benefit from the blockchain telecom industry? Continue reading to find out.
What is Blockchain Telecom?
Blockchain telecom represents the digital revolution. The provision of internet services and connectivity across networks using blockchain technology improves traditional telecom services in terms of security, speed, cost, privacy, and traceability.
In contrast to the traditional telecom system, blockchain internet companies decentralize the internet and record data on digital public ledgers instead of conventional private databases.
While this builds transparency, it also offers users maximum privacy. For instance, one of the few players in the industry, 3air, uses the Atala PRISM Digital Identity solution to enable users to manage how and who can access their private information on the platform.
Other companies in the field, such as Dent, Telcoin, and World Mobile Token, are also offering proprietary solutions to some of the common problems of traditional telecom. Although the blockchain telecom market is in its infancy, it’s already en route to offering the fastest internet service in Africa. For instance, 3air is championing this drive with the K3 Lastmile technology, a broadband infrastructure that can provide an internet speed of 1 Gbps.
The Lastmile technology, first deployed in Sierra Leone in 2019, has been successful and compared to what is currently available in Africa, sets the continent to become a league of its own. Moreover, through the Cardano blockchain, users will access 3air’s broadband-based internet services hassle-free and at a pocket-friendly cost.
How Blockchain Telecom Can Impact the Economy of Developing Countries
Blockchain telecom has direct impacts on key sectors of Africa’s economy, especially because stable internet connectivity is paramount in today’s world. Here are practical ways developing countries can benefit from the service offerings of blockchain internet providers:
FinTech and Banking
About 57% of the adult population in Africa lacks any form of bank accounts. That makes Africa a viable destination for over 576 Financial Technology (FinTech) startups headquartered on the continent, whose goal is to promote accessible payment services, financial inclusion, and convenient alternatives to traditional banking.
However, the major limitation to the growth and adoption of FinTech in developing countries is the lack of sustainable and affordable internet access. Even with Africa’s impressive mobile phone market growth, FinTech companies are having a hard time onboarding customers due to epileptic and expensive internet costs.
The emergence of the blockchain telecom market directly addresses the issues of high internet rates and poor internet speed, making it possible for more persons to gain financial inclusion through accessing online banking services in the region.
Small Business and eCommerce
In 2019, Africa’s biggest eCommerce company, Jumia, became the first African startup to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), charting a new course for the African eCommerce ecosystem. However, since then, no other tech company in Africa has achieved a similar feat.
While there are over 58 major online marketplaces in Nigeria, thousands of small businesses in the country rely on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to promote or sell their products and services.
Quality blockchain-based internet services won’t only grant these businesses adequate visibility and tools to interact with customers, but they will also make it possible for companies to actively contribute to the nation’s internally generated revenue (IGR) and GDP.
Every year, Nigeria loses 576 billion Naira ($1.25 billion) on medical tourism due to the poor state of the nation’s healthcare infrastructure. With an annual growth of 20%, the nation would spend $11.16 billion between 2022 and 2026.
While funding seems to be the predominant issue plaguing the nation’s healthcare system, the poor infrastructure and services of the existing internet providers in Nigeria play a major role in hindering innovation and growth in the healthcare industry.
For instance, Nigeria and most African countries are not yet in tune with the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) revolution. IoMT, which involves remote diagnostics, remote monitoring, and remote robotic surgical procedures, could save the region a great percentage of funds spent on medical tourism.
As amazing as the technologies behind IoMT may be, they are heavily dependent on stable high-speed internet servicesㅡwhich no internet provider in Nigeria offers currentlyㅡemphasizing the need for blockchain telecom services.
Education and Remote Learning
Africa has over 34 million out-of-school children within the primary education age bracket. However, this is only one of many obvious challenges the continent’s education sector faces, considering that some of its curricula are outdated compared to what is obtainable in other parts of the world.
This is happening in a digital age where blockchain-based internet makes it possible to get a college degree without attending a brick-and-mortar school. As a matter of fact, most professional certifications are obtainable over the internet through online learning platforms like Udemy, EDx, Coursera, Lynda, etc.
Some of these platforms have affiliations with the world’s leading universities, making their online programs as resourceful and legitimate as the physical ones. Sadly, the education budget in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is only 5.6% of the nation’s fiscal year spending, sparing only little for educational infrastructural development.
However, blockchain telecom providers like 3air have a philanthropic mission to provide affordable services that will enable more people to have access to quality education—be in actual schools or at home. With blockchain-based internet, people can leverage any of the numerous free educational programs that online learning platforms afford.
Apart from educational inclusion and remote learning, a stable internet connexion gives room for more student collaborations, better study and research, enhanced learning, and access to improved curriculums.
Human Development and Human Capital Indices
The human development index (HDI) is the measure of a nation’s social and economic development, using parameters like the standard of living, level of education, and the health of the people. On the other hand, the human capital index (HCI) measures how much the current state of a country’s healthcare and education can define the productivity of the people.
Their measuring parameters show that Blockchain internet growth has an impact on both indices. On the United Nations’ HDI ranking, only two African countries—Mauritius and Seychelles—rank among the top 90 countries. Most of the other African countries, like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Liberia, are among the lowest-ranking countries.
In the same vein, Seychelles and Mauritius are the only African countries ranked among the first 90 nations in the United Nations HCI list, with Nigeria ranking 168/173.
The direct correlation of healthcare and education with HCI and HDI further emphasizes how much the blockchain telecom market can catalyze the growth of the continent’s economy.
Better Job Opportunities
Although there is a high unemployment rate in developing countries, millions of jobs are available to Africans online. However, people don’t leverage these opportunities because of three major reasons:
- They are not aware such opportunities exist
- They lack the requisite skills for the jobs
- They don’t have access to stable internet connections, which the blockchain telecom market provides
These opportunities range from remote freelance services to eCommerce retail businesses. Connecting with the international market will provide African content writers, graphic artists, teachers, sports analysts, architects, etc., the opportunities to offer their services beyond the shores of their countries through freelancing platforms like UpWork, Fiverr, and People Per Hour.
Lately, more people are earning decent living trading forex and crypto—two skills that anyone with stable internet services can learn to earn a decent living from the comfort of their homes. Nigeria is currently leading Africa’s forex trading landscape, with over 300,000 retail forex traders in the country.
The blockchain telecom market has a bright future in Africa as it can foster the economies of developing countries by providing tools for human development, industrial scaling, broadband connectivity, and infrastructural expansion.
Blockchain telecom brands like Telcoin, World Mobile Token, Dent, and 3air are contributing their quota to ensure people connect with each other irrespective of the distance. With the success of the K3 Lastmile solution, it’s no doubt that 3air’s goal of connecting Africa to the rest of the world will be a reality soon.