At the Cardano Summit in September 2021, Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson announced a new partnership with Dish Network. This news holds tangible and exciting potential for all of us.
Dish Network built its reputation as a satellite TV company starting in the 1980s, but the legacy tech company has recently positioned itself to grow into the new millennium. They have mounted an aggressive acquisitions and partnership strategy that is laser-focused on the cutting edge of technology and consumer demand. Their recent acquisitions include Boost mobile as well some smaller mobile networks. They have also entered into partnership agreements with cell tower providers, Amazon, Dell and more. Their plan is to emerge as a leader in the 5G network marketplace, with plans to cover 1/5 of the US population by summer 2022.
Our mobile devices have become indispensable tools. Most of us appreciate the convenience they offer, even as we feel vague uneasiness about how much sensitive information they carry. The joke about our phones “listening” to us always gets a laugh - but as with all humor, it hints at something quite real. Our phones hold not only our contacts, text messages, and voicemails; they contain portals to our medical records, our banking and investing apps, our shopping choices, browsing interests, pandemic “contact tracing”, and with location tracking, a map of every place you have ever been. We feel somewhat reassured by passwords, fingerprint ids, and 2-step verifications of various kinds. However, most of us have no idea what is contained in the “terms” we agree to for every app, and we have absolutely no control over what happens in the databases of the companies we transact with.
During the partnership announcement, leaders from IOHK(Cardano), Dish, and Boost waxed enthusiastic about the potential for telecom and blockchain technology to grow together. Our mobile devices have really secured their place as indispensable tools for nearly all aspects of life but there is a lot of room to improve. We should expect great security and seamless identity and login experiences. Instead of limited and propriety apps and platforms, we should be able to have open yet safe mobile marketplaces. Charles Hoskinson summed it up this way: “Today, when we look at telco, we see intersections between the use of identity and the movement of data, and as Dish unleashes its next generation network, we see tremendous opportunity to move these innovations forward together.”
As a result of this partnership, customers of Boost mobile and Dish network can look forward to benefiting from tools, services, and customer perks at the cutting edge of new technology. One of the first perks to roll out is a planned “tokenized loyalty program”, which will use blockchain technology to offer dynamic, innovative loyalty rewards. They are looking at the success of airline loyalty programs, and are laying plans to take the concept to the next level, using the flexibility and security of blockchain.
Tokens on the Cardano network inherit about 95% percent of the properties of ADA itself. Assuming they choose the public Cardano Blockchain to host the loyalty tokens, they will be irrevocably owned by the users once they are issued. Unlike airline miles, you will be able to transfer your tokens to anyone, secondary markets can be formed, third party applications, game developers and metaverse developers can integrate the token, all without needing permission from Dish or IOG.
In the future, secure blockchain identities will mean mobile services that are both more powerful and more trustworthy. App-store platforms that are both open and secured by blockchain technology would mean more choice for consumers and more opportunity for innovators to participate. Chris Ergen, head of the innovation office at Dish Wireless said: “Dish has always been a leader in innovation within its business and industry. With this endeavor, we find ourselves at the intersection of two rapidly changing and radically transformative industries; blockchain and telecommunications. Both ecosystems somewhat depend on each other for survival and scale, while maintaining security and privacy.”
We are excited to hear more news as this partnership begins to bear fruit. If you are a Boost or Dish network customer, please leave a comment about your experiences as a result of this partnership. Who knows, some of us might want to switch carriers, just to take the new “loyalty tokens” on a test drive!