Vodafone looks to integrate crypto wallets with sim cards

Vodafone, a United Kingdom-based telecommunications provider, hopes to bring blockchain technology to smartphone users by integrating cryptocurrency wallets with subscriber identity module (SIM) cards. 

The ambitious move comes amid a company finance plan that reportedly involves Vodafone Idea Ltd., a separate entity operating in India that Vodafone Group carries a 45% stake in, taking on nearly $3 billion in debt including $1.8 billion in loans over the next two years.

In a recent interview with Yahoo Finance Future Focus, Vodafone Blockchain Lead David Palmer discussed the company’s plans to integrate blockchain technology into smartphone sim cards:

“By 2030 we’re expecting more than 20 billion mobile phones to be in operation, many of those being smartphones. … So we’ve focused on linking the sim card to digital identity, linking the sim card to blockchains, and using the cryptography we have in those sim cards for that integration.”

Palmer elaborated on the figures he presented, stating that he expected there to be some eight billion smartphones in use by 2030 and predicting a surge in crypto wallets to 5.6 billion in the same time frame — enough to account for nearly 70 percent of all people on Earth.

Despite the financial wrangling occurring with India-based Vodafone Idea Ltd, which recently sold off $2.2 billion worth of shares ahead of a debt raising plan worth a reported $3 billion, Vodafone Group has had a busy 2024.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, the company entered into a 10-year strategic partnership with Microsoft to bring generative artificial intelligence (AI) services to Vodafone’s customers.

Upon announcing the deal, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took the opportunity to hawk the disruptive nature of his company’s AI technologies declaring that the “new generation of AI will unlock massive new opportunities for every organization and every industry around the world.”

This isn’t the first time a company’s worked to combine cell phone technology with blockchain hardware. Back in 2019, U.S. startup VaultTel announced its ambitions to create a physical wallet that could be slotted into a smartphone’s SIM slot.

Related: Vodafone auctions world’s first SMS ‘Merry Christmas’ as NFT for charity

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