AirFox provides the unbanked and underserved in emerging markets access to free or discounted mobile data and financial services using their mobile phones; enabled by the decentralized power of the AirToken blockchain.
The Power of Mobile
Almost two billion people in the world do not have access to traditional, formal financial services – and not solely because of low income. The cost, travel distance, and paperwork involved are factors contributing to the time it takes to use traditional banks. Instead, people in emerging markets utilize an un-ledgered, underground economy that accounts for almost US$10 trillion per year.
On the other hand, with Android devices available for just US$30, many people in developing nations now have access to small, powerful computers in the palm of their hands. Many of these users – accounting for 75 percent of the world’s mobile subscribers – are on prepaid plans and spend much more for their mobile data and airtime.
In emerging markets, this mobile data and airtime functions as a currency. This mobile money can be easily transferred between phones, exchanged for cash, and used to pay for goods and services like utilities and groceries.
How AirFox Is Answering This Call
With its mobile platform, AirFox uses AirTokens and the Ethereum blockchain to provide the underbanked in emerging markets with much-needed access to mobile data and financial services.
Users can utilize AirTokens to:
- Redeem for free or discounted mobile data and airtime supported by advertising
- Purchase physical and digital goods
- Send and make payments to friends and family around the world
- Apply for or lend peer-to-peer microloans to other users based on the likelihood to payback their loans based on anonymized mobile behavior
With AirFox, anyone can easily give an interest-generating loan that will provide the unbanked and underbanked in emerging markets access to capital for goods and services in an instant.
The AirFox Brand
The foundation of the AirFox brand was built on a plug-and-play SDK adtech platform for prepaid mobile operators to provide more affordable mobile data through ad-sponsored, app-specific, or zero-rated plans in the US. After serving 2 million unique subscribers in the US, AirFox aims to bring similar accessibility to mobile users in emerging markets.
AirFox is doing this through two products connected by AirTokens. The AirFox Android app is designed specifically for users in emerging markets to be secure, easy to use, and consume less mobile data.
The app allows users to receive free, ad-sponsored AirTokens, purchase mobile data or airtime, buy digital or physical goods and services, build credit scores based on their mobile usage, and use that score to apply for and receive micro-loans. AirFox is also developing a decentralized app (Dapp) to make it easy for individual lenders and institutions to make anonymized loans to cohorts of borrowers in the Android app.
The AirToken is an Ethereum ERC20 utility token that is focused on delivering the following benefits to its target audience in emerging economies:
- Redemption of affordable, sponsored mobile data access
- Use of AirTokens to redeem physical and digital goods
- The global ability to lend and/or use micro-loans
Smart contracts will power the Dapp to enable a global pool of lenders to provide capital to unbanked users at lower interest rates.
Advertising and Microloans
Users of the AirFox app can opt in and allow ads to be shown on their device. An ecosystem of advertisers is built on top of the AirToken smart contract, so each user gets a share of the ad revenue for their awareness.
Additionally, a decentralized application (Dapp) enables anyone in the world to lend to users on the platform. A smart contract allows holders to lend their AirTokens to users, who can then exchange the tokens for mobile data, pay essential bills, and purchase physical and digital goods. Users pay back their loan by opting to advertise or directly by converting fiat into AirTokens.
AirFox: The Origins
AirFox was started by co-founders Victor Santos and Sara Choi. Both met while working at Google and shared similar childhood experiences in Brazil and Korea where expensive telecommunication services is the norm.
They teamed up to found an MVNO called Ciao Telecom, with operations in the US and Brazil. With lessons learned from Ciao Telecom, Santos and Choi successfully launched AirFox, a TechStars portfolio company with US$1.2M in venture seed funding and generating annual revenues of US$600k one year after seed funding.
Read an exclusive interview with Christine To, VP of Business Operations at AirFox.