Covering over 180 countries with more than 310,000 nodes, why has Roam secured a leading position in the DeWi track

Covering over 180 countries with more than 310,000 nodes, why has Roam secured a leading position in the DeWi track

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Roam stands out as the sole Web3 initiative among the eleven corporate alliances in the WBA OpenRoaming™ program. With its unique token incentive and community growth system, the Roam ecosystem currently boasts over 390,000 app users and has surpassed 310,000 nodes, covering more than 180 countries. Roam has now exceeded Helium 5G in terms of node scale and has firmly established itself at the forefront of the DeWi track. The WBA holds high expectations for Roam and anticipates that it will contribute to 20% of the overall growth in OpenRoaming™ network nodes in the coming years.

OpenRoaming™ Network: A Seamless Wi-Fi Experience

As the standards of the 802.11 WLAN series evolve technologically—particularly with recent advances in Wi-Fi 5 (IEEE 802.11ac) and Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax) that significantly boost data transmission speeds—Wi-Fi has become integral to modern electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and smart home systems, making it one of the most crucial infrastructures today.

Most public places typically offer Wi-Fi networks as an auxiliary service. Currently, the global public Wi-Fi network encompasses nearly 700 million spots, growing at an annual rate of 10%. Despite this expansion, public Wi-Fi networks are usually not user-friendly. Most are sourced from private routers with the minority stemming from government, municipal, ISP hotspots, community, and commercial Wi-Fi operators. These networks often involve regional restrictions and cumbersome connectivity steps including repetitive logins, reconnections, password sharing, and redundant registrations. For example, users traveling locally or internationally struggle to maintain continuous Wi-Fi connectivity and must frequently authenticate new network connections.

Moreover, public Wi-Fi networks pose security and privacy risks. A notable instance occurred in 2017 when a security researcher demonstrated a man-in-the-middle attack on a public Wi-Fi network in a Starbucks coffee shop. He created a fake Wi-Fi hotspot mimicking the official Starbucks Wi-Fi, allowing him to monitor and manipulate the network traffic of connected users, including redirecting them to malicious websites. The security issues associated with public Wi-Fi continue to receive increased attention.

To create a seamless, secure, and login-free Wi-Fi network system, the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) introduced a technical standard called OpenRoaming™ in 2019. OpenRoaming™ allows users to connect to new Wi-Fi networks without needing to log in or authenticate every time. Once authenticated in any OpenRoaming™-supported network, their devices can automatically connect to any other participating network, enabling true seamless roaming. Additionally, it employs WPA3 and WBA’s Passpoint technology to ensure all data transmission is encrypted, offering a level of security comparable to mobile networks. OpenRoaming is suited for various settings, including airports, stadiums, hotels, offices, and public spaces, providing users with a consistent network experience.

The Current State of OpenRoaming™

Initially, OpenRoaming™ was driven by major internet and telecommunication giants, including Cisco, Google, AT&T, Boingo Wireless, and Samsung, following its market introduction. These early proponents typically promoted OpenRoaming™ in a top-down fashion, such as Cisco and Samsung integrating the technology into their network devices and mobile units to ensure seamless access to OpenRoaming™ Wi-Fi networks. AT&T and Boingo Wireless, by partnering with various industry players, have advanced the concept and benefits of OpenRoaming™, often initiating pilot projects in specific locations like airports and large conference centers to demonstrate the technology’s feasibility and effectiveness.

While OpenRoaming™ holds tremendous potential in enhancing the shared Wi-Fi experience, its efficacy depends on the number of participating networks and their coverage. Broad adoption of OpenRoaming™ typically relies on extensive participation from service providers. However, pushing the scheme from large corporations to smaller businesses has encountered challenges due to cost and profitability issues, including initial equipment investment and significant upfront educational expenses. In many areas or scenarios, support for OpenRoaming™ is limited, preventing users from experiencing its benefits of seamless connectivity. Additionally, the OpenRoaming™ standard requires compatible devices, as not all support the necessary Passpoint technology, requiring users to have compatible devices to enjoy automatic connections. Consequently, in many less internet-savvy small to mid-sized cities, the penetration rate of OpenRoaming™ is extremely low.

Currently, there are about 3 million OpenRoaming™ nodes globally. With a total market size of 628 million customer-used Wi-Fis, only 0.6% are integrated with OpenRoaming™, indicating that enterprise-driven efforts alone are insufficient to significantly advance its development. A more extensive driving force is necessary, such as encouraging broader participation from small and medium-sized enterprises and involving end-users as promoters. The low integration rate also suggests a vast potential for growth in this field.

The good news is that with Roam (formerly Metabolx) joining the OpenRoaming™ corporate alliance, it is paving the way for a large number of small and medium-sized businesses and end-users to become promoters of OpenRoaming™ in a Web3 manner. Roam collaborates with traditional communication industry leaders like Boingo Wireless, Cisco, GlobalReach Technology, and Intel to expand the coverage and user base of OpenRoaming™ network nodes.

As the only Web3 enterprise among the eleven alliance companies, Roam is building a system driven by a token economic model, the DePIN system, which could potentially enable all prospective roles to spontaneously become promoters of OpenRoaming™ network development, significantly reducing the entry barriers for small businesses and end-users to join OpenRoaming™ while allowing them to earn income from their contributions. It is reported that Roam’s decentralized backend and hardware will eliminate the technical and cost barriers to deploying OpenRoaming™ (reducing economic costs by an average of 50%), integrating it into everyone’s daily lives and empowering all stakeholders to promote the process from the bottom up. The WBA has great expectations for Roam and hopes that it will account for 20% of the overall growth in the OpenRoaming™ network in the next few years.

Roam as a Key Factor in Promoting the Large-Scale Adoption of OpenRoaming™

Centered around Roam, which is driven by the DePIN system, a Web3 protocol layer has been established within the Wi-Fi network and OpenRoaming among users. This protocol layer supports business users or individual users with network capabilities (bandwidth or Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities) to join OpenRoaming through Roam routing devices or mobile devices, providing free Wi-Fi services to users with network needs while earning token incentives from the Roam network. Simultaneously, the Roam protocol ensures that users connected to OpenRoaming maintain sovereignty over their data without interference from central databases.

Web3 Wi-Fi Network Centered on DID/VCs Credentials

From the user's perspective, the Roam protocol has introduced decentralized identifiers (DIDs) and the corresponding verifiable credentials (VCs), based on which users can seamlessly switch between public Wi-Fi networks without the need for repetitive authentication and registration.

Users can easily sync settings between devices through the Roam APP or retrieve configuration files when switching devices without redoing complex setups. In this way, Roam is establishing a unified, user-centric global Wi-Fi OpenRoaming network that seamlessly connects different Wi-Fi networks.

At the same time, VC/DID credentials as the core of the Web3.0 Wi-Fi are vital to the Roam ecosystem, allowing the initiation of a virtuous cycle of network construction through token incentives, controlling the deployment and expansion of the global distributed wireless access network, and generating valuable "3W" data - detailing who connects, when, and where. Based on this data, Roam will collaborate deeply with in-ecosystem social applications including SocialFi and GameFi.

Another innovative aspect of the Roam ecosystem is its ability to promote the popularization and large-scale adoption of OpenRoaming from the bottom up.

Accelerating the Expansion of the OpenRoaming Network with an Incentivized DePIN System

Roam has established a DePIN ecosystem driven by a Web3 economic system. Based on this DePIN network, small and medium-sized enterprises and individual users with network bandwidth and Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities can join OpenRoaming at any time through the Roam protocol, either by purchasing Roam routers or by loading the Roam App on mobile devices to share hotspots.

In terms of hardware, Roam currently offers the Rainier MAX60 router, which is compatible with OpenRoaming and supports Wi-Fi 6 performance, capable of up to 9.6Gbps data transfer rates—nearly three times faster than WiFi 5's 3.5Gbps, thus reducing bandwidth congestion. Additionally, it supports simultaneous connections for over 200 devices within a 150 square meter range, meeting the needs of most customer-used Wi-Fis. When users connect at specific nodes, all Roam routers work together to verify their DID credentials.

The router itself is priced comparably to other standard Wi-Fi 6 routers, making it accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises and individual users. It also serves as a hub for edge computing and connectivity for many homes and small businesses, providing efficient and secure support for large-scale data transmission.

By operating Rainier MAX60 and providing services like OpenRoaming™ Wi-Fi, users can earn four times RoamPoints rewards compared to adding Wi-Fi spots (RoamPoints can be used to stake and burn after the TGE to obtain $Roam tokens). The more OpenRoaming™ Wi-Fi connections a user establishes, the higher the rewards, significantly offsetting the user's deployment and network operational costs, and even generating profits. The low price threshold of Rainier MAX60, continuous economic incentives, and superior network performance are driving a large number of nodes to spontaneously join the construction of the OpenRoaming™ network.

In addition to hardware devices, Roam has also launched an app that not only allows users to join OpenRoaming™ Wi-Fi for free but also enables them to share their Wi-Fi network through mobile devices equipped with hotspot functionality. During the process of sharing their network, users earn RoamPoints rewards based on their contributions.

This mining setup is turning all mobile devices with hotspot sharing capabilities into small Roam nodes and is expanding the network through the launch of various socialization features that grow as users virally expand. The Roam app is not only a conduit for users to join the sharing network and freely join OpenRoaming™ Wi-Fi, but it has also introduced a series of Web3-native features, including:

Check-in-to-earn: This feature supports users in earning points by checking in. Users can earn points by verifying the operational status of Wi-Fi network nodes and providing hotspots for other users to use. To date, the cumulative number of check-ins in the app has exceeded 1.86 million.

Connect-to-convert: The Roam App offers various incentive mechanisms for users participating in network co-construction, and it also serves the accumulated traffic pool to other tracks in the Web3 ecosystem. Web3 projects can precisely airdrop to target users based on their project needs, achieving growth and early ecosystem activation. Active users of the Roam App are expected to receive a series of Web3 project token airdrop incentives, which will further promote user contribution within the Roam ecosystem. At the same time, the Roam App is expected to convert a large number of Web2 users into Web3 natives in this manner.

Location-based-socialfi: This feature leverages geographic coordinates for social gameplay. Users can expand their social graph based on location, strengthening links between users within the ecosystem. The introduction of socialization is enhancing the cohesion of the Roam community and providing a foundation for further fissure and exploration of commercial value within the ecosystem.

Infra-as-a-service: Roam supports cooperation in infrastructure services with other infrastructure project parties. Roam collaborates with other DePIN projects on hardware, supporting multi-mining on one machine to bring diversified earnings to users. At the protocol layer, Roam can also provide data support for projects based on geographic locations and use the Roam App as a visualization-driven application.

Currently, with the setup of these features, the Roam App backs over 280,000 users and has formed one of the largest communities in the Web3 domain. Recently, a joint event with OKX attracted over 100,000 participants, demonstrating the ecosystem's appeal.

Meanwhile, the overall number of network nodes is nearing 310,000, covering over 180 countries. The Roam ecosystem is experiencing rapid growth in node numbers, with a sequential growth rate of over 100%, making the Roam ecosystem currently the third-largest DePIN network.

Economic Model:

The Roam ecosystem currently includes three types of assets, driving the growth and development of the ecosystem through different means: RoamPoint , $ROAM tokens, and Roam NFTs.

RoamPoints are the central asset in the tokenomics at this stage. Users can obtain them through network contributions, direct purchases, or exchanges with partner merchants. Functionally, RoamPoints circulate within the Roam ecosystem, used for purchasing third-party applications, accessing network-generated data, or posting advertisements within the Roam network environment. Additionally, RoamPoints can be exchanged for the governance token $ROAM through staking, burning, and other means. When RoamPoints are used for specific purposes or under certain conditions, they are destroyed, helping control supply and enhance the token’s scarcity (over 25% of RoamPoints have been destroyed in the first week).

$ROAM is the governance token of the ecosystem. Holders can obtain these tokens through various means such as staking, voting, or receiving airdrops from other projects. Its primary uses include verifying services provided by miners, participating in community governance, and staking to acquire operational rights. This token is planned to be listed on exchanges soon.

Roam NFTs are directly issued by the Roam Foundation and can be linked to specific mining devices. Holders can earn $ROAM rewards by staking these NFTs. Additionally, NFTs grant holders a special community status.

Roam's Potential 

  • As the largest DeWi Ecosystem 

Currently, with over 310,000 nodes and spanning more than 180 countries, Roam has surpassed Helium 5G, becoming the second-largest DeWi network, only behind Helium IoT. As Roam's "wild growth" continues, it is evolving towards becoming the largest DeWi ecosystem.

Indeed, DeWi projects like Helium and Wicrypt aim to build a DePIN ecosystem to reduce network costs and promote widespread network services, with their primary profit model still resembling that of a virtual network operator, selling large telecom companies' eSims or charging users for paid services. While this new service model has advantages in obtaining network costs, providing extensive network services, and reducing user-end network acquisition costs compared to Web2 network services, the potential of this business model that has been proven in Web2 is limited.

Roam's difference lies in not charging users but profiting at the data and application layer. Therefore, as a Web3 extension and aggregation layer for OpenRoaming, Roam can be made available to all users for free, continuously enhancing the quality and experience of user networks as the network node system expands.

This approach makes it easier for the Roam ecosystem to experience successive growth cycles. The current scale of the ecosystem and the momentum of node growth (from doubling monthly to weekly) are testament to this. As the user base expands, it is poised to become the most crucial Web3 data availability layer, empowering development across various tech domains. Different profit models and growth strategies also mean that Roam has a higher development ceiling.

  • Backed by a Blue Ocean Market 

Currently, Roam is still in the early stages of ecosystem development, especially since the $ROAM token has not yet undergone TGE.

With Helium 5G's current valuation at $700 million, Roam's ecosystem valuation is expected to rapidly break through this figure given its larger node scale and user base than Helium 5G.

From the WiFi market perspective, with approximately 628 million consumer WiFi units and only 3 million OpenRoaming nodes, achieving a 1% conversion rate could mean about 5 million people enjoying a better WiFi experience, with a potential market value of up to $1 billion. Roam is becoming a significant force driving this trend, illustrating its position in a blue ocean market within this track.

The grand narrative direction is also making Roam highly favored by the capital market. At the end of last year, it completed a $5 million funding round led by Anagram and Volt Capital, with participation from Comma3 Ventures, ECMC Group, Awesome People Ventures, Stratified Capital, DePIN Labs, Future 3 Campus, IoTeX, ZC capital, and JDI. Subsequently, it received investments from Samsung Next, OKX Ventures, among others. Roam also plans to soon achieve a TGE of the ROAM token on leading trading platforms, which will kickstart the ecosystem comprehensively and further accelerate the ecosystem's growth flywheel.

Investment market progress and future token market developments will further propel Roam in the DeWi track ecosystem and the global WiFi roaming network node construction, continuing to work with Cisco, Boingo, GlobalReach, and others using DID-based credentials to support the latest WiFi technologies and achieve a fast, secure, and roaming-capable global network while playing a key role in 5G deployment and reducing cellular traffic burdens.

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