A new peer-to-peer (P2P) wireless network known as Pollen Mobile is emerging. What’s the clincher? The project is looking to pay its users in crypto for running their own mini cell towers. This will build out the network’s coverage in San Francisco, where the company is stationed.
Pollen Mobile Mixes Cell Phones with Crypto
Pollen Mobile was launched by Pronto AI, an autonomous vehicle startup which was begun by Anthony Levandowski. He was pardoned in 2021 by President Donald Trump after being sentenced to 18 months for allegedly stealing trade secrets.
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It may seem odd at first that a vehicle company is pushing a new mobile network, but Levandowski – who is still the CEO of Pronto – explained that the technology is necessary for vehicles to connect with each other. In addition, Pollen Mobile is cheap, meaning the company doesn’t require a lot of incentives.
In an interview, Levandowski mentioned:
The reason why is simple. We needed reliable, affordable mobile connectivity for our AVs, and we couldn’t find it, so we built our own and realized it could be something others want. Necessity is the mother of invention.
One of the things he’s tried tackling with Pollen Mobile is – on a basic level – all the problems that people seem to have with standard mobile phone companies. He studied what it is that present cell phone users don’t like about their current providers. He tried to take all this into account when developing the project. He says:
We got to thinking about all the other things that people don’t like about existing mobile companies. We saw an opportunity to build something truly revolutionary — something that tackles what we see as the ‘Four Horsemen’ of mobile networks. These ‘Four Horsemen’ are a lack of privacy and anonymity, poor coverage, high costs, and no user voice.
One may be used to driving along the road and seeing cell phone towers that seem to extend well into the sky. With Pollen Mobile, the towers are quite different. They range in size, from just over a foot in length to around six feet tall – considerably smaller than the standard towers we’re all used to seeing.
These towers are referred to as “flowers,” and are installed in the offices and homes of users, who then connect to the internet through them and provide coverage to other Pollen customers. Those who do so receive rewards in Pollen Coin (PCN), the official cryptocurrency of the project.
Users Have the Upper Hand
Levandowski says one of the big benefits of the Pollen network is users are totally in control. They decide where towers go and who can gain access to the mobile system. He says:
We’re not controlling where flowers go. We designed the network so that the community and market forces will determine where rewards flow.