Can Satellite Internet Connectivity Boost Bitcoin Adoption in Africa?
Bitcoin adoption around the world is a patient process, as one of the factors involved in the currency’s success relies on internet connectivity. The Western world has gotten accustomed to having the internet at their disposal wherever they go, but things are vastly different in areas such as Africa, South America and parts of Asia. […]
Bitcoin adoption around the world is a patient process, as one of the factors involved in the currency’s success relies on internet connectivity. The Western world has gotten accustomed to having the internet at their disposal wherever they go, but things are vastly different in areas such as Africa, South America and parts of Asia. Facebook wants to deliver internet access via satellite to sub-Saharan Africa, but will it help foster Bitcoin adoption too?
Partially Connecting Africa to the Internet
Bringing internet access to Africa has been a topic of debate for many years, as the task is far more difficult than anyone originally anticipated. There is next to no Internet infrastructure to speak of in most of Africa, and major companies are not willing to spend the funds to provide this service. After all, the costs far outweigh the benefits, according to analysts, so why would anyone bother?
Mark Zuckerberg, the famous CEO of Facebook, has taken this idea to the next level. Quite literally, in fact, as his plans to bring The internet to Africa may very well take a detour through space. Internet access via satellite connection seems to be the only viable solution to [partially] connect Africa to the world wide web.
However, even powerful individuals such as Mark Zuckerberg can’t pull off such a stunt on their own. Earlier today, Facebook announced a partnership with Eutelsat –– a French satellite operator — to bring this crazy idea into the realm of reality. To be more precise, this partnership would, in theory, make it possible to bring broadband internet connectivity to sub-Saharan Africa.
There is a third player in this story as well. Both Facebook and Eutelsat have signed a multi-year deal with Spacecom, a satellite communications provider. Should this plan come to fruition, it will effectively be possible to “beam” broadband internet access to large parts of sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, the plan is to have the AMOS-6 satellite — used specifically for this project — in space by Q3 2016.
It is only just that more efforts are being msfr to connect the rest of the world to the internet. A recent UN study indicated that reliable internet connectivity is still a major problem in as much as 57% of the world. It is important to note that over 90% of these 57% live in the world’s poorest countries, where there is limited to no access to financial services.
The main goal of this initiative is not only to connect more people to the internet but do so in an affordable and somewhat convenient manner. Rather than requiring specific hardware, connecting to this satellite internet connection will be possible through “off the shelf” hardware. Further details were unavailable as of press time, but more information will become available over the next few months.
Bitcoin Adoption to Thrive in Sub-Saharan Africa?
Due to the lack of stable financial infrastructure in this part of Africa, it only seems to make sense that some form of a monetary system will grow in popularity. Bitcoin seems to be the most likely candidate in this regard, as its borderless and frictionless nature allows users to send money around the world at little to no cost.
The big question remains whether or not people in sub-Saharan Africa are waiting for a revolutionary payment method such as Bitcoin or not. That situation is rather difficult to predict at this stage, even though there are clear benefits to using digital currency over traditional financial options. Only time will tell, as Facebook’s project needs to succeed before we can look beyond that point.
What are your thought’s on this initiative by Facebook, Eutelsat, and Spacecom? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: The Verge
Images courtesy of Mark Zuckerberg Shutterstock