Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Manx Telecom tests Minima blockchain for connected devices

Steve Rogerson
March 25, 2020



Minima, a decentralised blockchain protocol that runs in full on mobile phones, has completed a proof of concept that saw Isle of Man mobile operator Manx Telecom send tokens on Minima’s blockchain from one phone to another, granting network access without touching any of the operator’s existing billing systems.
 
Growing consumer demand for data and increasing numbers of networked IoT devices puts telcos’ charging and billing infrastructure under pressure. To realise the 5G vision for connected devices, the basis of charging and settlement has to change to avoid it becoming an industry bottleneck.
 
“Manx Telecom has a proud history of delivering telecoms innovation, working with like-minded partners,” said Gary Lamb, CEO of Manx Telecom. “This blockchain PoC with Minima is the latest demonstration of our ability to innovate in an agile way and underlines our commitment to identifying technologies which can power the future of telecoms.”
 
At the moment, the technical effort and cost of relaying a message from a video doorbell is similar to that of watching a movie, but at a fraction of the revenue for the operator. It costs a mobile operator $6 per year per account to connect to a single device which is prohibitively expensive.
 
Minima’s solution to these problems is to manage access to mobile services via a decentralised blockchain, involving the sale and acceptance of tokens as proof that the user is eligible to access the desired services, replacing the centralised and complex legacy approval systems. Telcos can sell tokens that represent 100 SMS messages, or 1Gbyte of internet data and accept payment back in tokens when the user requires these services.
 
A permissionless blockchain allows decentralised payment at one of countless base stations without requiring approval by the main operator. Users can then independently create secondary markets for token resale and exchange.
 
The Minima testnet is running and will shortly be made available, alongside beta apps, while the mainnet will launch early in 2021.
 
“Minima is perfectly positioned to enable the massive growth expected in internet of things devices, while satisfying increased consumer demand for mobile data and services,” said Hugo Feiler, CEO of Minima. “This successful first proof of concept with Manx Telecom has shown how the purchase and application of tokens can work in practice and we are looking to announce more partnerships and engagement from telecoms companies and other industries in the coming months.”
 
Minima is a compact, scalable and secure cryptocurrency and a decentralised blockchain protocol that runs entirely on mobile phones. 
 
The brainchild of founder and chief architect Paddy Cerri, the Minima protocol addresses key limitations of current blockchain systems, namely that of the potential for centralised points of failure. Three weak points of current blockchain protocols are: miners able to censor transactions; developers able to change the protocol; and blockchain protocol leaders able to sway the overall direction and reputation of a coin. The Minima protocol makes every user an equal participant, with no one group or cartel being able to achieve dominance over the network.
 
The Minima mainnet, which goes live in 2021, will be a fully decentralised proof-of-work blockchain ready for users to come on board and for DApps to be deployed. Minima achieves this by empowering every user to run a complete node on a mobile phone, with no more computing power than a messaging app. A complete node not only validates every transaction, but helps in the construction of the blockchain, which is normally a privilege reserved only for the ever-decreasing number of miners.
 
Minima users individually mine their own transactions, and this cumulative work is used to create blocks. Users automatically collaborate to perform the same task as competing miners, allowing a decentralised approach to energy consumption, rather than the energy arms race so evident in current PoW blockchains. Each user only keeps the data of their own transactions, but each has the hash of the entire database. With no group or cartel in charge of extending the blockchain, this makes Minima resilient to both miner coordinated and state-level attacks.