Not Just Starlink: WiFi Map Is Starting Its Web3 Journey And Making The Internet Accessible For Everyone

We all know how turbulent the last few years have been. The COVID pandemic raged for two years, and was followed by supply chain issues, conflicts and economic crises. One industry that has been forced to change as a result of these shocks is connectivity, whether that means large numbers of people trying to get connected in new and unfamiliar places, or grid outages forcing people to seek short-term solutions until normal services are resumed. One high-profile solution has been Starlink, the satellite ecosystem that has provided infrastructure to Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion.

A new player is now emerging in the space, bringing together crowdsourcing, economies of scale and the blockchain. WiFi Map started out with a very simple idea – people all over the world could download an app containing a global map and add a WiFi hotspot. Once it had been verified by a community member, anybody with the app could connect to it when in range and enjoy free public WiFi without the hassle. As contributors added hotspots to the platform, the app became more useful and brought in more users, who could then add hotspots themselves. This basic network effect proved very successful and, to date, WiFi Map has been downloaded over 150 million times, with more than 13 million people participating in building the crowdsourced network.

Later this month, the company is set to begin the rollout of WIFI, a native utility token that will launch on the Polygon network. The first major step is a launchpad event on March 30 in partnership with TrustSwap, a major DeFi ecosystem that has made waves in the space in recent weeks with the likes of podcast digest platform PodFast and decentralized Web3 internet browser Carbon Browser. The event on the TrustSwap Launchpad will be followed by listings on centralized and decentralized exchanges.

This post was authored by an external contributor and does not represent Benzinga's opinions and has not been edited for content. This content contains sponsored advertising content and is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.

The token will have a number of use cases in the early stages of the rollout. One of the core utilities will be rewarding users who participate actively in the platform by adding new hotspots, verifying information about WiFi networks and conducting speed tests. The founders Denis Sklyarov and Igor Goldenberg have stressed that WiFi Map has always been a community-driven platform, and the creation of a utility token presents an incredible opportunity to reward the people who have made it the world-leading app it is today.

In a world where new markets and sources of value often come in the form of data, WiFi Map contains a great wealth of information and a huge amount of value waiting to be unlocked. The utility token will circulate both inside and outside the ecosystem, allowing contributors to realize the value of the huge network they’ve helped to build and tap into the new functionality that WIFI is bringing.

The WIFI token will also interact with eSIM mobile data, another key component of the WiFi Map ecosystem that has been available on iOS for some time and is now being rolled out with the latest Android update. According to its whitepaper, WiFi Map is aiming to provide a full stack of connectivity and lifestyle services in the coming months, and making sure that people are connected wherever they are – regardless of whether there’s a WiFi hotspot in range – is a vital part of this.

The WiFi Map eSIM offer is supported in part by WiFi-First, a technology that allows cellular providers to ‘hop on’ to WiFi networks where possible, reducing bandwidth strain and helping to bring down costs. In fact, the team recently announced a price drop, bringing the cost of a 10 GB 30-day eSIM package down from $49.99 to $39.99. The company is currently looking at further price drops, as well as expanding its eSIM coverage from 70 to over 100 countries. The offer will be even more tempting when the token goes live, with users eligible for a 3–5% cashback reward in WIFI after buying an eSIM in the app. But it doesn’t stop there. If a user has topped up their in-app WIFI wallet with tokens, or earned enough through participation in the ecosystem, they can redeem them for eSIM packages and receive a whopping 15–20% token cashback immediately.

The incentives are clearly there on both sides of the equation: help others connect to free WIFI and receive rewards in tokens, then use the tokens to get mobile data that will keep you covered when you can’t find a hotspot nearby. The team hopes that the symbiotic relationship between the existing network of millions of free WiFi hotspots and eSIM connectivity will accelerate the circulation of the WIFI token and support sustainable growth.

The key advantage of tokenizing the WiFi Map ecosystem lies in the fact that users don’t need to provide their own infrastructure or make any up-front investment to build out the network. The ecosystem could soon scale even more rapidly, with potentially limitless upside. This differs greatly from projects like Starlink – and, for that matter, other ‘DeWi’ (decentralized wireless) projects such as Helium, World Mobile Token and Pollen Mobile – where proprietary satellites, routers and other infrastructure are needed in order to participate, bringing costs, wait times and potential supply issues.

The vision of the founders is underlined by what they describe as a belief in the internet as a fundamental human right. It is estimated that even today around one third of the world’s population doesn’t have access to a stable and secure internet connection, and reaching these people is surely going to require bold and innovative approaches to wireless connectivity.


This post was authored by an external contributor and does not represent Benzinga's opinions and has not been edited for content. This content contains sponsored advertising content and is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.

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