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What is AirToken?
AirToken wants to tokenize mobile access for the underserved. We want everyone to have unrestricted access to the mobile internet. There are billions of people around the world lacking access to telco and financial services. The poorer you are, the more you have to pay for access.
The goal is to unlock mobile capital (affordability is the biggest prohibitor of access) by allowing advertisers and lenders in our blockchain to sponsor mobile internet to millions of users at a time. We ledger the user’s digital assets (attention, prepaid balance, behavior, etc.) and essentially monetize the smartphone for the subscriber in the form of AirToken sponsorship rewards and AirToken micro-financing. Users are then rewarded or loaned AirTokens that can be redeemable for airtime or data across 500 prepaid carriers.
— Victor Santos, Co-Founder and CEO AirToken
The crowdsale will begin on September 19, 2017 at 10 a.m. EDT and will end on October 19, 2017. AirTokens (AIR) are minted based on the amount of contributions received. There is a goal of $15,000,000 and a hard cap of $21,000,000. If the hard cap is reached, the crowdsale will end immediately.
The AirToken contribution address will be published 48 hours before the ICO through various AirToken communication channels.
Air will be priced at 50 Air per one Ether, with a bonus for those who contribute first. The first $2,000,000 in contributions will receive a 30% bonus; the second $2,000,000 in contributions will receive a 20% bonus; the third $2,000,000 in contributions will receive a 10% bonus; and all contributions sent when fundraising has reached $8,000,000 will not receive a bonus.
Token Distribution information
There are a total of 1.05 billion Air available for purchase during the crowdsale. Air is an ERC-20 token and Ether is the only accepted cryptocurrency during the crowdsale.
Tokens will be distributed to the Ethereum wallet that Ether was contributed from for the crowdsale. Once tokens are purchased they are immediately transferable. Air can be redeemed through either Android app (AirToken Recharge App or AirToken Browser App) or through the “Airfox Internal AirToken Ledger.”
There is a maximum total of 1.5 billion Air tokens that could possibly be minted during the crowdsale. The following is the allocation of that potential 1.5 billion total:
— 70% will be available for purchase during the crowdsale.
— 30% will be placed in the ‘“Airfox AirToken Reserve” (user growth pool and a micro-loan reserve).
Use of Crowdsale Proceeds
— 50% will go towards current and future engineering teams.
— 20% will go towards sales and marketing needs.
— 13% will go towards bulk data purchases.
— 12% will go towards administration and legal.
— 5% will be stored as a buffer reserve.
Victor Santos, Co-Founder and CEO
Victor has worked for Google, is a UC Berkeley alum, and a telecom entrepreneur. He began working with VoIP at iWorldServices, opening their LatAM division. He then co-founded Ciao Telecom where he launched a platform for VoIP entrepreneurs and an advertising-based mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). After growing Ciao Telecom to a multi-million dollar company, he joined Google where he began working on product and marketing for the AdWords agencies program.
Sara Choi, Co-Founder
Sara has worked for Google in various roles, is a Harvard alum, and an award winning product manager and marketer. She began at YouTube where she launched a new product feature that increased CSAT (customer satisfaction metric) by 545%. She then went on to become Google’s youngest media lead, managed YouTube’s media team and $72 million budget, and launched several campaigns, including YouTube’s Comedy Week. Sara has also led the product team at Ciao Telecom where she and Victor launched a mobile network virtual operator.
James Seibel, CTO
James was formerly a software Architect at Lola Travel (founded by Kayak co-founder), the head of engineering at Apperian (acquired by Arxan Technologies), and holds a master’s and bachelor’s degree in computer science from Boston University. James has architected and developed a range of technologies, including mobile app hardening using algorithms to rewrite compiled application binaries to automatically add crypto for U.S. and German governments. James is a blockchain engineer and Ethereum contract author.
Emanuel Moecklin, Chief Software Architect
Emanuel founded and managed 1gravity, an IT company specializing in the development and distribution of mobile solutions. He has also held the role of software architect/manager at PostFinance. Emanuel has architected, designed and built large-scale transaction systems for the biggest payment processor in Switzerland and has worked in numerous big software projects across the globe for the management consulting business unit of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. He’s an expert in mobile advertising and is the mobile developer responsible for designing and implementing the AirFox mobile client architecture.
Christine To, Director of Business Operations
Christine is formerly a business strategy and operations consultant at Ericsson, is a UC Berkeley alum, and specializes in business development. She began her telecom career working at Ericsson in the U.S. After a few years, she was one of four people (and the only female) chosen from the U.S. and Canada to build Ericsson’s business strategy consulting unit in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Prior to Ericsson, Christine held sales and finance roles at various firms including, Cisco, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker Commercial, and late stage venture debt fund, Gold Hill Capital.
Tiago Passinato, Principal Software Engineer
Tiago is a long time entrepreneur and consultant in software development and infosec. He worked with highly regulated industries in Brazil and the U.S., including government offices and international logistic companies, where he was responsible for architecting server infrastructure and full-stack projects. Tiago was a senior engineer and architect at Ciao Telecom and various start-ups working with AdTech and telecom infrastructure. He has been working with Airfox since its inception and is responsible for architecting the platform to scale to millions of users.
ICO Alert: How does the token function within/for the project and why is it necessary?
Victor Santos, Co-Founder and CEO of AirToken: For the user, the AirToken is pretty much airtime, and it’s transparent. The user does not know, or need to know, it is blockchain or a cryptocurrency. For the end consumer, it is synonymous to airtime. Our target audience may not have a bank account, but they have a prepaid account with a local wireless carrier. airtime functions like a currency for the unbanked.
For advertisers and lenders, they are purchasing AirTokens to receive a “return on investment” on the subscriber. Anyone holding AirTokens can lend or sponsor AirTokens to a subscriber. For now, it’s advertisers and lenders; in the future, it could be anyone trying to purchase or get access to these customers. Everyone wins.
Advertisers want attention, purchases, engagement, and access to emerging market users. They sponsor the access through both incentivized and non-incentivized ad units targeted with the information opted-in by the subscriber and collected by AirFox.
Lenders can choose cohorts of users based on AirFox’s smart-contract parameters which range from AirFox’s internal “credit-score,” APR rates, payment time-frame, and risk profile. AirFox bundles users together and facilitates the transaction between the lenders and the users by collecting, distributing and collateralizing users’ AirTokens via the prepaid carrier network.
ICO Alert: AirToken uses two different Android applications, the “AirToken Browser” and “AirToken Recharge App.” Will iOS applications be available at some point, and do they these applications slow down the phone’s processing speed in any way?
AirToken: No iOS app in 2018, but perhaps in 2019 since old iPhones are starting to penetrate the low-end market. We don’t see this as an issue given that 90% of our base is Android users. The idea in the future is to only have one app by bundling the Recharge app into the browser. The reason we haven’t done this yet is because the browser is massive in size and we need a few more months of development work to make it lighter in size. However, regarding slowing down the phones, quite the contrary, in fact, our browser increases surfing speed since we block external trackers and ads. The AirFox browser only displays our AirFox ads that reward the user, which, in fact, are lighter and more optimized.
ICO Alert: How do users, carriers, publishers, and advertisers exist and function within the AirToken ecosystem?
AirToken: Carriers don’t need to opt-in to the AirToken ecosystem. We only use the existing prepaid carrier ecosystem of payments, data, remittances, and offline transactions to facilitate the conversion of AirTokens to a universally acceptable currency for the end-consumer, which, in this case, is airtime or data. Advertisers currently are buying attention and impressions in fiat, AirFox converts that into AirTokens on behalf of the advertisers and programmatic advertising exchanges. The future, we hope to get the ad exchanges and advertisers to purchase directly in AirTokens. Lenders will use AirTokens to sponsor the mobile internet for hundreds of thousands of users at a time. For example, a creditor who holds the equivalent of $1,000,000 in AirTokens could choose to sponsor 100,000 mobile users in India for $10 per user. The user gets access and the lender gets some interest for lending to these users.
The publisher ecosystem that AirToken wants to build out it is much further away and currently not a part of the core business. The idea is that once AirToken becomes the de-facto currency that provides mobile access, AirFox will enable an API or SDK that allows any mobile application to offer micro-loans of their product powered by AirFox. Publishers and developers could “sponsor” not just data, but micro-financing of in-app purchases or a physical product. The idea with the publisher ecosystem is to give users a variety of different services that are redeemable for AirTokens.
ICO Alert: Many ICOs aim to create “banking for the unbanked,” or “bring the internet to those who don’t currently have access.” What direct and indirect competition does AirToken have currently?
AirToken: Our closest direct competitor is Tala, and they do not use the blockchain for their services. We think by implementing a decentralized lending protocol, we become less dependent on the carrier ecosystem as they are. Lastly, they are also the ones providing the loans themselves, instead of simply enabling the transaction.
In regards to ICO competitors, the OMG token could be considered an indirect competitor. However, they are more of a full-stack payments solution for the unbanked. Omise.go has a very ambitious vision, attempting to create an entire payment solution for the unbanked, which requires reinventing the entire financial infrastructure and value chain. AirFox is using the existing ecosystem of prepaid wireless carriers to offer micro-financing and uses the established currency of airtime, which users are already familiar with, that functions as a bank in these countries. AirFox is not trying to be a new payment processor for the unbanked, rather we are purely focused on micro-finance and asset monetization using mobile recharges, allowing users to earn airtime and mobile data via opt-in advertising and micro-loans. AirFox sees OMG Token more as the “stripe for the unbanked,” and the AirToken as a “micro-LendingClub for the unbanked.”
ICO Alert: Recently, the Ethereum network has suffered transaction delays, and many in the community have noted the issues with the amount of transactions possible per second. Could these slowdowns affect the AirToken network, and how does AirToken plan to scale to millions of users?
AirToken: For micro-transactions, we keep them in an internal ledger and bundle them together before sending to the mainnet to reduce transaction costs. Similarly, for our future micro-finance technology, lenders will choose a cohort of borrowers to lend to and make a single transaction across many loans. Long term, we want to be on public blockchains as much as possible, and when off-chain technologies such as Raiden or similar mature, we will migrate our architecture.
ICO Alert: How far along is AirToken in development overall? Are the Android apps deployed, and if not, what does the schedule look like for them?
AirToken: The existing Android apps in the Google Play store should be considered “beta” quality. Users can earn by enabling ads and completing offers, but the ads aren’t tuned for a global audience, as we are using existing technology from our U.S. business-to-business telecom software platform. We are targeting initial expansion and marketing efforts in Latin America, specifically Brazil and Mexico, and within 6 to 12 months, we expect to be ramped up and deployed across those countries. The micro-financing product should be live by Q1-Q2 of 2018. However, we will be releasing alpha versions of the smart-contract and P2P lending platform before this date.
ICO Alert: How much can a user earn on average by participating in the AirToken economy? Will this amount ever change, or is it fixed?
AirToken: For the AirFox advertising rewards, a US based user can expect to earn between $1-$10 per month. This number is lower for emerging markets, and it varies by country. It should increase over time as we have more users on the platform. For micro-financing, a user will be able to redeem anywhere between $5 to $200 USD equivalent of AirTokens. The micro-financing will also increase over time, as we build more reliable models and have a strong network of lenders.
ICO Alert: Can you explain the concept of “dead capital” and why it applies so much to the AirToken platform?
AirToken: Dead capital was coined by economist Hernandez De Soto to explain why capitalism works in the west but fails anywhere else. Hernando de Soto claims poverty comes from the lack of a trusted ledger system that allows property owners in the shadow economy to use their property rights to acquire capital. “Five-sixths of the world is poor but the 80 percent [of the poor] majority is not, as westerners often imagine, desperately impoverished” (De Soto, 15). The poor have possessions, but lack the ability to produce additional value from those possessions. The poor own houses, crops, and businesses, yet all of it is unverified, not valued, or unregulated by law. What if this could be ledgered and legalized, creating legitimacy and capital? The very intrinsic nature of the blockchain and smart contracts are the solution. It enables capital for the world’s underground economy, solving De Soto’s mystery of capital.
The reason dead capital applies to the AirToken platform is that the AirToken tokenizes mobile access by monetizing an inherently “dead” asset, the smartphone. We create property rights for the user’s smartphone information, behavior, and attention, allowing lenders and advertisers to bid for the value of that information.
ICO Alert: As a non-AirToken question to end the Q&A, does the AirToken team have any fun or unique predictions for the cryptocurrency or ICO market?
AirToken: As a venture-backed company, we see ICOs completely changing the financing game for entrepreneurs. Token sales will shift the focus of power from venture capitalists to the entrepreneurs themselves, and the users of the product. This democratization of capital will unlock many innovations allowing anyone in the world to start a project, not just those in Silicon Valley. VCs will still have a purpose for later stage growth capital, but regarding seed venture, ICOs are a direct threat to an early stage fund. I truly believe that the next billion dollar startups will come from the blockchain and ICOs.
In regards to the cryptocurrency market, I think it is just in its infancy. I am sure there will be market corrections along the way, but if you look where the internet was in the 90s, that’s where blockchain is today. There was a lot of noise back then too, but you still had Google, Akamai, Amazon and many others building real innovations and creating sustainable world changing businesses on the internet.
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(1) AirToken Website, AirToken, (2017)
(2) AirToken Whitepaper, AirToken, (2017)