Cardano (ADA) founder Charles Hoskinson, in a recent interview with CoinTelegraph, revealed that the IOHK team was working on a microchip that would facilitate cryptocurrency transactions without the need for internet access.
The chip is being researched at the University of Wyoming, with the idea being these inexpensive mass-manufactured chips can enable crypto transactions to resemble that of cash.
Such a feature would greatly open up financial access and draw in the developing world, which stands to gain the most from blockchain technology, according to Hoskinson. The Cardano team had been looking into supply chain use cases, but developments up to that point did not fit Cardano’s requirements.
Namely, the chip had to be capable of storing cryptographic keys, inexpensive to produce and embeddable. With this, Cardano is looking beyond supply chain use cases, though that is a major area of application.
After initially discussing how it can be used for such as determining the authenticity of products, Hoskinson talks about it can be used in the developing world to benefit regions like Africa (which Cardano is very keen on), where only 2% of the population own smartphones.
So when you look at that, you say, well, OK, 98 percent are mostly offline and not banked or digital […] so how do I replicate the cash money experience but still have a blockchain backend? Well, what you do is you create a hierarchy where those two percent basically become like micro banks and then they can manage the issuance of these tokens to people and then their local phones or infrastructure can verify.
Wyoming is a hotbed of Cardano activity, as the project plans to run a pilot of a blockchain-based voting system. Both the state of Wyoming and the university contribute funding, with roughly $1.3 million granted so far.
Cardano itself has seen itself make the news frequently in 2020, with much anticipation surrounding its Shelley upgrade.