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How Bitcoin Disrupts Telecommunications?

Mobile operators are investigating the Blockchain. Looking to discover how the Blockchain might influence the telecommunications sector, CoinTelegraph interviewed some Blockchain developers.

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How Bitcoin Disrupts Telecommunications?

The Blockchain has begun to disrupt not only the financial sector, but also the telecommunications sector. Looking to discover how the Blockchain might influence the sector, CoinTelegraph interviewed Blockchain developers, Jonathan Nelson and Derick Smith, the telecommunication expert, Lee Gibson Grant, and the businessman, Stephen Rowlison.

Monopolies are in danger

Cointelegraph reached out to Jonathan Nelson, a developer at Butterfly Labs.

CT: Are mobile operators in an ideal position to embrace  Blockchain technology?

J.N: The app developers will be the implementers. Traditional client-based apps are decentralized. This is ideal for Blockchain applications. APIs are being created to handle PKEY identities. Mobile operators do not care and will end up getting left behind by mesh networks. Monopolies, like Comcast and AT&T, are in danger.

CT: Which steps must mobile operators take to begin utilising this new technology?

J.N: APIs are needed to handle PKEY identities.

CT: Since most governments now want to monitor mobile phones, could the Blockchain be advantageous to a customer who wants more privacy and security?

J.N: Yes, PKEY tech will help. MESH networks need to be implemented for privacy. MESH networks need to advance to increase bandwidth. There is no incentive for cell network providers to increase speed. Mesh Networks will also reduce costs.

The vision is that people will be able to buy a mini cell tower and join the network for free. They can also be the ISP for their neighbors to recover the costs. I could see a mid-range unit costing 3k.The ROI could be as soon as a few months depending on access in the current area.

The mathematics for the GEOlocation routing is being created. A series of Blockchains will run the routing.

I also believe that this is critical technology for the Blockchain. A mesh network is the ultimate privacy.

First Projects Will Tackle Cost Savings

CoinTelegraph also spoke to Derick Smith, Chief Operating Officer at Blockchain Lab:

CT: Are mobile operators in an ideal position to embrace Blockchain technology?

D.S: All of them are, if they see the opportunities to use it. The question is rather whether they see the opportunities as desirable from their perspectives.

CT: Which steps must mobile operators take to begin utilising this new technology?

D.S: They will probably approach the Blockchain much like the financial service providers. They will conduct internal investigations and build out proofs of concept (POC) around any ideas they come up with. They may partner with one or more specialists in the Blockchain industry to help. The probable first projects will be in the area of cost savings, possibly in billing and provisioning, possibly in identity management and KYC compliance.

CT: Since most governments now want to monitor mobile phones, could the Blockchain be advantageous to a customer who wants more privacy and security?

D.S: There are existing, Blockchain-based secure messaging applications. The time-sensitive nature of voice calls do not lend themselves well to Blockchain technology, but key/identity-management is perhaps an option. There are existing cryptographic privacy solutions like Silent Circle.

CT: Are there any signs that the 5G network will be involved with the Blockchain?

D.S: Yes, the long term deployment of mesh networks may converge with 5G, but that is quite far in the future.

Natural Evolution of the Sector

CoinTelegraph sought the view of someone already in the telecommunications sector, so spoke to Lee Gibson Grant, an expert in telecommunications.

CT: Are mobile operators in an ideal position to embrace  Blockchain technology?

L.G: Mobile networks are already embracing the technology indirectly when you look at businesses such as Bitpesa and other remittance corridors. They use Bitcoin converted into local mobile money services owned by networks such as Airtel Money, M-Pesa and MTN Money.

CT: Which steps must mobile operators take to begin utilising this new technology?

L.G: It would be a natural evolution by the telecoms sector when they find and define a relative use case to embrace Blockchain technology.

CT: Since most governments now want to monitor mobile phones, could the Blockchain be advantageous to a customer who wants more privacy and security?

L.G: It's a very touchy subject and must be looked at in various ways. For example, if a bomb or attack happens around you or your loved ones, you would be the first person to point fingers at the government for not preventing such a situation. However, on the other hand, increased security does mean espionage of your own personal rights and privacy.Therefore, due to technology advancements, we put our own privacy and security at risk.

CT: How could the  Blockchain disrupt the telecommunications industry?

L.G: It is very hard to say how the Blockchain could disrupt telecommunications, as the Blockchain lives and survives over the telecoms networks, data centers and so on.

The real use case and disruption is not immediately obvious. Within the telecommunications sector endures across MNO, MVNO Tier 1 to Tier 3, down to the calling card companies and the Carriers Xchange Carrier otherwise known as Stealth Communications. This is where the real disruption will occur.

On 22-25 of February, there is a big event in Barcelona - the Mobile World Congress. There will be a discussion about the future of the mobile industry and a specific matter that is important is the SecureChain: A Blockchain-based security system for SDN networks. Using Reply’s expertise in the Blockchain technology and Software Defined Networking, Sytel Reply has created a brand new and powerful system to provide security, scalability and auditability to future networks.‚Äč

To the Internet of Things

Lastly, CoinTelegraph reached out to Stephen Rowlison, the owner of SMSBitCoin company in Australia. He takes this view:

“Disruptive innovation in Blockchain applications from the telecommunications industry might one day threaten banking. Consumers can expect better billing and reporting services, and perhaps even greater accuracy in news and information, financial or otherwise.

Already, the ‘un-banked’ are benefiting from peer-to-peer payment systems which carry simple feature-based mobile phones. Short message service offers a viable alternative to expensive e-banking solutions.

Perhaps one day also voice and data will be written to the Blockchain. Just as much as the Internet changed media, are there are use cases to be explored by telco's. Distributed telecom, anyone?

One example of linking the Blockchain to telecommunications is being explored by Global Media and Equity, an Australian company and owner of SMSBitCoin. Their exchange services are integrated with the Blockchain and with two major ATM Networks, Westpac Banking Corporation and The Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Thanks to these Bank ATMs and their card-less features, the ‘un-banked’ get cash in or out using Bitcoins and a simple text message.

Customer transactions are recorded on the Blockchain. The company’s equity can be purchased through a vending machine offered by CoinDaddy and even traded on a distributed stock exchange through open-source project, Counterparty.io. Dividends are paid to Investors via SMSBitCoin. Since their stock is also traded on the Blockchain, one can make the connection between transactions and profits with any phone.”

Stephen Rowlison, Owner of SMSBitCoin

In real life, every chain ring interacts with chain rings from different systems. This is what the mobile industry should take into consideration. With open-minded people, the Blockchain could reform the I.T. service providers and become a beacon of decentralization for the Internet of Things.

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