The last two months have been a busy time at Airfox. The company has doubled in size and hired marketing, operations, business development, blockchain, and software engineering experts. This update focuses on engineering and product developments, and explains what we have accomplished and where we are headed.
Last week, Brian Kinney started as Senior Software Engineer. Formerly of Jana, Brian brings years of experience building back-end infrastructure powering millions of mobile users in emerging markets. We are very excited to have him start working. Brian is improving our backend server infrastructure and ensuring we have reliable, scalable servers that are easy to deploy and maintain.
We are actively interviewing candidates for an additional Android engineer, ideally starting by the end of 2017. In Q1 2018, an expert front-end web developer will return to Airfox after a stint at another company, and we will begin interviewing senior-level data scientist candidates to augment and manage our existing data science team.
In our ICO white-paper, we proposed a plan for increasing access to capital and mobile data by building a web browser that replaced default advertisements with ads that rewarded the user directly in AirTokens (AIR) for viewing them. We also proposed a micro-lending platform that enabled AirToken holders to lend mobile data directly to users, earning interest in AIR for their loan. During the ICO, we released a beta web browser app for token purchasers to better understand what we are building.
Since the ICO, we have deeply analyzed the web browser product space in emerging markets and have concluded that a different type of app will better accomplish our goal of increasing mobile affordability and access to capital.
Airfox will become the financial institution for the unbanked. We are now building an Android app that enables anyone in Brazil, and eventually the rest of Latin America, to participate in the digital economy and receive credit regardless of their income level and financial history.
Users will continue to have the option to earn AirTokens via advertising. In fact, we will expand opportunities for users to earn AIR with additional advertising and affiliate partnerships. Also, we will use AIR as an incentive to drive actions that benefit the platform, such as referring new people or providing valuable analytics data.
Micro-loans provide a unique, valuable service to users and increase the utility of AIR. However, micro-loans are not an obvious feature for a web browser, and this product shift more clearly emphasizes our value to users.
Peer-to-peer Micro-Lending Platform
Successful peer-to-peer lending platforms include several key features:
- Access to capital for loans
- Risk profiles for borrowers
- A mechanism to distribute loans to borrowers
- A mechanism to receive loan payments from borrowers
- Incentives to encourage repayment of loans
The initial version of the Airfox app will contain the mechanism to distribute loans and the mechanism to receive loan payments through our connections with fiat money services, digital service providers, and ad-tech systems.
The risk profile will be provided by a credit scoring algorithm developed internally. The Airfox app will collect raw phone data such as which apps are installed, call data records, location history, and thousands of additional data points. The data and the format in which it is collected has been optimized by our data science team to make scoring as efficient as possible.
Additionally, we are finalizing partnerships with various companies to augment our proprietary credit scoring algorithm to enhance the accuracy of our risk profiles.
Actually providing micro-loans, and the incentive structure for repayment, will come in future versions of the Airfox app. In future updates we will explain the incentive system, which is quite unique and relies on social mechanics to encourage repayment.
Blockchain and Decentralization
The Airfox blockchain team has been researching academic literature, technologies, projects, source code, and consulting with advisors about how to best proceed with using blockchain technology in all our products. Our goal is to move as much of the ledger and lending technology as possible to the blockchain to increase safety and trust, reduce transaction costs, and open up a global pool of lenders to maximize available capital for borrowers.
This plan has already gone through many iterations and is still being finalized. At this point, it is most likely our ledgers will exist in a private side-chain built on top of the TenderMint protocol. We intend to integrate with Ethereum via Cosmos but can integrate with Ethereum and the AirToken smart contract directly if needed.
In the January engineering update, the blockchain and decentralization plan will be elucidated in greater detail. The AirToken lending dApp and all blockchain software / smart contracts will be open-sourced and auditable. We will host all applications, but any AirToken holder will be able to clone the repo and run the software directly against their own Ethereum node if they desire.
We plan to launch the new AirFox app in early 2018. Stay tuned for more updates and information.