The race to build crypto-enabled internet connections is heating up with another contender, GIANT Protocol, planning to leverage telecoms’ massive footprint.
Founder Suruchi Gupta, who leads GIANT (Global Internet Access Network Token), told CoinDesk her new startup is working to essentially tokenize spare bandwidth, turning cellular access into a digital asset and phone numbers into wallets that can pay to use networks anywhere.
“We make it really easy for anyone from anywhere in the world to also get access to the internet in a very seamless, consistent and secure manner without being locked to any single provider,” she said in an interview. Major telecommunications companies are showing an interest in partnering, she said.
GIANT’s plan is no less ambitious than any other crypto connectivity startup. Helium is seeking to bootstrap a wifi network by persuading individuals to host mining hotspots. And Nodle wants its decentralized internet-of-things to hop across smartphone bluetooth connections.
But in focusing on deals with the telecomm behemoths, instead of user-owned infrastructure, GIANT is perhaps betting that the fastest way to mass network adoption is to work with the existing kingmakers. Some telecoms have signed on already, Gupta said, but she declined to identify who they are.
It’s an extension of a playbook that worked for Gupta before. She previously founded Wificoin, a pay-as-you-go, in-flight Wi-Fi access app that has grown its base to 120,000 users. Wificoin is now planning to integrate with terrestrial hotspots in an effort to further expand.
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