If you are reading this online, consider yourself lucky. According to the World Economic Forum, nearly four billion people out of the Earth’s 7.5 billion people have no access to the Internet.

The WEF lists lack of infrastructure, affordability, lack of skills, awareness, cultural acceptance and lack of local adoption as factors which contribute to the so-called digital divide. 

Affordability is a major factor, and WEF states that for the 13 percent of the world population below the poverty line, it’s a major hindrance. They further state that broadband is only affordable for 100 percent of population in just 29 countries.

AirFox is planning to help change the way Internet is accessed by people in developing countries, so that it becomes more affordable and accessible. They plan to do so by using a combination of advertising and micro-credit.

AirFox is raising funds through a crowdsale

The AirFox initial coin offering (ICO) is due to start Sept. 19, 2017 at 10:00 am EST. The crowdsale will last for 31 days.

The tokens being launched are called AirTokens (AIR). There are plans to sell a total of 1.5 billion AirTokens in order to raise a maximum of $21 mln.

The amount of available AirTokens during the crowdsale is 1.05 billion or nearly 70 percent of the total tokens. The token is based on Ethereum Blockchain, and they can be exchanged after operations commence for mobile data and digital services, as well as physical goods.

The redemption of the tokens can be done through the AirFox Recharge Android app, as well as the AirFox Browser app.

AIR will be sold at a fixed ratio to Ethereum (ETH). AirFox have released a whitepaper that has all the details of their upcoming crowdsale, as well as the technical details of their planned operations.

Investors stand to benefit through ICO participation

In terms of how investors stand to benefit from the ICO, the issue will surely have appeal for investors who want to bring in change and benefit those who the digital revolution has bypassed.

Internet has a deep impact on the economy, with a working paper titled ‘Information Technology’s Impacts on Productivity, Welfare and Social Change’  of the University of Queensland by Clem Tisdell stating that increased broadband diffusion raises GDP per capita by 0.9 to 1.5 percentage points for each 10 percent rise in broadband point section. 

We talked with Victor Santos, CEO and Co-founder of AirFox about how investors stand to profit by investing in their crowdfunding effort.

He had this to say:

“Investors will be able to hold AirTokens that will be used by Lenders and Advertisers to sponsor the mobile Internet of millions of users. There will be a market for buyers and sellers of AirTokens. Those who wish to take the AirTokens and lend micro-credit to users, will also be able to earn an interest using the data that we collect on the smartphone.”

AirFox plans to transform Internet access for millions

AirFox’s offerings like AirFox Recharge and the AirFox Browser will help prepaid users on phone networks all over the world earn free AIR through micro-loans as well as advertising.

These tokens will be redeemable with at least 500 mobile phone operators. AirFox Browser will help users block external advertising and trackers that consume precious and expensive mobile data.

By opting in to AirFox ads they can also earn AIR. There is also the AirFox Recharge application that pays in AIR tokens for completing tasks such as surveys, making purchases or watching videos.

These tokens can be redeemed. There are also plans to offer micro-loans to users through this app.

Turning a crisis into an opportunity

Today many people who are living in poverty have smartphones. Smartphones offer a cheap and affordable entry point to access Internet. A lot of the poor use a smartphone as a primary device for Internet access.

Utilising these phones to provide financial services makes a lot of sense considering two billion people in the world still have no access to banking according to the world bank.

They also add that one percent of the world population only uses mobile money accounts, while in sub-saharan Africa this figure is as high as 12 percent. AirFox is planning to transform this crisis into opportunities for all involved.

Underserved populations can get access to mobile data and banking, the mobile operators new customers, and AirFox themselves can monetise dead mobile capital.

Santos says about micro-lending:

“A decentralized financial system can unlock capital for billions of people. The AirToken aims to be the de facto currency that gives users in emerging markets access to mobile capital through a network of prepaid wireless carriers. Our platform extends the existing telecom infrastructure of prepaid carriers that operates as a bank for these subscribers, using airtime and mobile data as the recharge mechanism to provide capital access. The underserved may lack a bank account, but they have a prepaid account with the local wireless carrier.”

Data as universal currency

AirFox has taken a unique approach to addressing data and micro-lending. By pushing both at the same time they can achieve a force multiplier.

Grameen Bank, a microlender in Bangladesh, realised the potential of mobile telephony early in the days of the technology. They enabled poor people in remote villages to own village telephones and run ‘information kiosks’.

The results in Bangladesh have been encouraging, the programme that started in 1997, installed 40,000 village phones by 2004 and covered seven million people.

AirFox has the same potential but on a worldwide scale. They plan to basically use data as capital.

Santos says:

“We use data simply as a universal currency, with an already established offline ecosystem to convert the AirTokens.” Explaining their expansion plans he tells Cointelegraph, “We intend to focus on Latin America first, but eventually South-East Asia as the secondary market. Brazil is the first market that we will test micro-loans and get the model right before expanding to Mexico and surrounding countries.”

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