If you’ve taken a stroll through a large city lately, or even your local neighborhood, it may have struck you how few faces you actually saw. It isn’t that people have packed up and moved away. It’s that they no longer make eye contact as they walk around. Instead of looking up or around, their gaze is downward, directed at their smartphones.

With the average American spending 10 hours a day staring at screens, and those in other developed countries pretty much following suit, under-connectivity hardly seems an issue. In fact, when we hear about scandals like Cambridge Analytica and creepy uses of our personal data, the main problem most of us have with connectivity is that we’re online way too much.

But it’s a different scenario in many parts of the world.

If you’ve ever experienced heart palpitations over leaving your smartphone at home, or losing your internet connection when you’re about to make a trade, you’ll know how reliant you are on connectivity. So imagine what it’s like in the dark places of the world, where people have no access to the internet at all.

The Unconnected

When we think of people without connectivity, we often figure that it’s a small minority we’re talking about. But, according to RightMesh CEO John Lyotier, there are almost four billion people around the world who don’t have an internet connection. The problem isn’t just that they can’t update their statuses, play Candy Crush, or invest in crypto. They also miss out on the serious social and economic benefits that being connected provides.

“There are nearly four billion people who lack connectivity, and two billion who are unbanked or are not included in the financial systems of the world today. We have a unique opportunity to change the story of economic abundance,” says Lyotier.

Of the people not included in that statistic, many rely on spotty internet at best. Hardly enough to watch a YouTube video, let alone make transactions or carry out a job online. And while computers may be out of reach for financial reasons, the smartphone is a real possibility.

Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Cherie Blair says, “Computers are a distant dream but the mobile phone is an immediate reality.” Technology can at last be the great enabler and equalizer, if we choose to use it as such.

Blockchain Technology Can Help

Blockchain companies are appearing in all shapes with noble white papers on how to reduce world poverty. Whether it’s shifting more power to the individual seller in the supply chain, providing education, or expanding access to banking; for the first time we have a real opportunity to do something.

This is the goal of RightMesh, which will leverage the potential of blockchains to allow people around the world to connect without needing access to the internet. This will open up a world of possibilities, and even activate sections of the global economy.  

Through a system called “mesh networking,” mobile phones can connect with each other directly, without the need for an internet service provider (ISP). Each phone has a unique blockchain identity, and RMESH tokens are used as incentives for users to participate in the network, allowing for peer-to-peer connectivity.

This means that after, say, a natural disaster, when all connectivity options are down – or in rural places where there is no provider – constant connectivity could be a reality. Blockchain technology can get the world connected and level the playing field for all.

“It is not about a redistribution of wealth and knowledge,” says Lyotier, “it is about empowering those who have not (or have less) presently to create wealth and knowledge by being included.  With mesh networks and blockchain, for the first time, we have the tools at our disposal, if we have the will.”