Siglo announced this week the launch of a new protocol built on the Ethereum blockchain that facilitates free access to mobile connectivity for prepaid subscribers in emerging markets. The blockchain-based platform connects airtime sponsors with smartphone subscribers, creating a decentralized mobile network powered by the value-transfer between users, providers, and brands.
“In emerging markets, increased access to mobile connectivity creates new economic opportunities,” said Joel Phillips, co-founder and CEO of Siglo. “The Siglo protocol will empower smartphone users in these markets by eliminating the barriers that previously prevented them from participating in the digital economy.”
In Mexico, according to the World Bank, 61 per cent of adults are without a bank account and as of 2016, GSMA reported 85 per cent of smartphone connections in Latin America were prepaid. For these customers, earning 500MB of data requires 8-40 hours work (based on average wages and the cost of top-ups in Mexico and Brazil), and getting top-ups for mobile connectivity require traveling to supermarkets, gas stations or small street-side shops.
“Siglo offers brands a scalable solution for connecting with customers in some of the fastest growing markets in the world,” said Isaac Phillips, co-founder of Siglo . “Key transactional pieces of the ecosystem benefit from immutable, auditable ledgers on the Ethereum blockchain, including brand transactions, user transactions and user-to-user transactions. By tokenizing access to mobile airtime, Siglo is facilitating unbanked users’ increased access to networks through incentivizing the creation of decentralized mobile networks.”
Built upon the success of Pig.gi, an Android lock screen app used by more than one million smartphone owners in Mexico and Colombia to access the internet, the Siglo protocol adds a blockchain layer on top of a pre-existing off-chain data reward point, called the Pig.gi Coin. Launched in 2016, Pig.gi garnered more than one billion impressions for its brand partners, distributed 45 million Pig.gi coins to its users and amassed a wealth of new data that maps the customer journey from initial discovery to final transaction.
To provide top-ups at scale, the Siglo token will be launched as the first token to enable providers and brands with a way to directly reward consumers with mobile connectivity in exchange for engagement. The generation of Siglo tokens will fund the expansion of the platform that will tokenize access to airtime as well as expand the ecosystem in new and current markets.