The BitMinute Utility Token

Much financial press ink is spilling all over the internet about the status of cryptocurrencies. Are they valuable as vehicles of exchange? Are they more of a store of value that could appreciate?

A lot rides on the answer, not least the idea that a token that implies ownership in a profit-seeking enterprise becomes a security. That characterization implies investment risk, and triggers additional reporting and oversight in many regulatory jurisdictions.

If a token is tied instead to a real-world asset that is not tied to a profit-making venture, as the BitMinute is tied to prepaid airtime minutes, then ownership involves buying a commodity. If the token is exchangeable for other assets like gold, another token or fiat currency, then it has utility. It can be bought in exchange for other tokens or commodities, held as a physical (digital) asset, and cashed in for money at any time.

The exchange rate for this token (in our case the prepaid airtime minute) would be set independently on exchanges. The price would move with supply and demand just as commodity prices move today.

The Utility of the BitMinute

BitMinutes were designed to unlock the financial potential of the prepaid airtime minute as a tradeable, cashable asset. Originally people bought prepaid minutes solely to use them to make phone calls. But they quickly became recognized as a safe store of value.

  • Once a person converted their cash into prepaid minutes, the minutes remained in their account with the mobile operator until used.
  • This was often safer than cash, as the prepaid minutes were tracked by the mobile operator and would not be lost if the phone was lost. Cash, if lost or stolen, was a total loss.

Then someone had the bright idea that minutes could be traded between phone accounts within a mobile operator’s network (an added value that was easy for the operator to offer in exchange for loyalty.)

At that point, small debts could be cleared or products bought, with the payments made in minutes.

The constraints here are obvious:

  • Once a person converted their cash into prepaid minutes, the minutes remained in their account with the mobile operator until used.
  • This was often safer than cash, as the prepaid minutes were tracked by the mobile operator and would not be lost if the phone was lost. Cash, if lost or stolen, was a total loss.

Both of these factors limit prepaid minute utility. BitMinutes break down these two barriers:

  • BitMinutes (BMTs) can be sent to any mobile phone on the planet and converted for use as airtime minutes. Or they can be sent to other individuals (or, more accurately, their phone wallets) to pay bills or debts. Or sent as a gift, as with a money transfer between people in different locations around the world. BMTs can be sent between phones regardless each phone’s operator network. There is no network limit to its utility.
  • Second, as our in-country partnerships roll out, BitMinutes owners will be able to convert BMTs back into cash through a TAN (Trusted Agent Network) cash-out location.

Do you see how useful the BitMinute can be?

Bonus Benefit to BitMinutes: Transparency

The BMT is a smart contract built using blockchain techniques. It tracks who owns it, and unlike a bitcoin, is set up as a transparent token. Much like diamonds are now branded to prove their clean provenance in an era of “conflict diamonds,” so BMTs are designed to keep track of their ownership trails. KYC and AML compliance standards are built into the BMT design.

The BMT is built to be a high-mileage, high-utility token that will stand the test of time. It proves that utility by breaking down barriers to financial inclusion and injecting liquidity into the prepaid airtime minute marketplace.

That sounds pretty darn useful!

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