What is DENT coin? A coin that could rock the telecoms industry

With a set of innovative uses and a growing user base, can a self-styled data disruptor make it?

Image of a coin with the DENT logo, foregrounding competing coins – Photo: Shutterstocke                                 
Will DENT put a dent in the pricing for mobile data and voice roamimg? – Photo: Shutterstock
                                

Contents

What is DENT coin?

DENT is a cryptocurrency with a very specific purpose: to make roaming mobile phone calls and data usage cheaper. It was invented by its CEO and founder Tero Katajainen as the payment method for DENT Wireless, and was launched in 2017.

Read on to discover more about DENT coin, as explained below.

What is DENT Wireless?

According to its 2017 white paper, DENT represents a tokenised mobile-data market, liberated from the centralised, monopolised telecoms industry.

At its core, DENT is a disruptive technology, which uses the Ethereum blockchain to enable a data-sharing economy “where users are able to freely buy, sell and donate their mobile data, from any user to any user”.

Data roaming is big business for the telecoms sector – a fact thrown into sharp focus in the UK, since the majority of mobile operators reintroduced European roaming charges following the country’s majority vote to exit the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020, commonly referred to as ‘Brexit’.

But despite leaving Continental Europe to enjoy its liberal cross-border data usage, travellers on a more global scale continue to be plagued by extortionate roaming charges and poor network speeds, due to data having to be routed via their home country.

This is where DENT comes in. The project was created in the hopes of resolving this problem once and for all. According to its white paper,  “DENT facilitates the removal of data-roaming cost drivers, such as expensive routings between telcos.” 

Underpinning this technology is the DENT token, a cryptocurrency built on the ERC-20 protocol that underwent an initial coin offering (ICO) in 2017. For an up-to-date analysis on the current DENT price and some future price predictions, please see more of our DENT coin review here.

DENT doesn’t seek to replace your existing provider. Instead, it aims to work as a companion, whereby a globetrotter can seamlessly switch between their regular telecoms provider and the decentralised DENT network as and when needed.

Can DENT truly make a – err – dent in the $835bn global mobile telecoms market? It might not be aiming to, but given the billions of dollars lost in unused data due to expired contracts, the company clearly sees an untapped market of huge potential.

The data exchange

The DENT Exchange acts as a horizontal marketplace for trading of mobile data.

In theory, someone traveling from the US to France can simply log into the exchange and buy data from a local resident, hotel chain or other business. The American user thereby bypasses any data-roaming fees imposed by his provider. In fact, no contractual agreements are necessary. The Parisian earns DENT from the transaction and the American saves on roaming fees. All are happy.

However, there is a catch for those who wish to partake in the sale of their spare data to potential DENT users, and there are few things to be aware of.

As a decentralised data-sharing platform, the DENT Exchange nodes need an incentive to become part of the network. In much the same way as bitcoin (BTC) miners receive BTC rewards for donating their processing power, so too do data suppliers on the DENT network receive tokenised rewards in the form of a DENT coin payout.

There is, however, a major difference. While BTC can be easily converted into cold, hard fiat money, any and all DENT coins are trapped in your DENT account and are unconvertable. This raises the question: How useful is a massive stockpile of DENT tokens that can only be used on mobile data top-ups down the line?

There could be an upside though. As we have seen with other decentralised networks such as EOS, which rewards blockchain nodes with fiat-convertible tokens, the blockchain quickly consolidates into a small amount of shadowy entities with sufficient storage and processing power to stamp out the competition.  While runs against blockchain’s decentralised philosophy, DENT will be less susceptible to this trend, since mining rewards can only be traded in for roaming data or as a donation.

Perhaps in future DENT could incentivise large-scale donations to developing countries as part of its philanthropic endeavours? Whether there are future plans to liberate the DENT from the app to be traded on a regular exchange is unclear, but at time of writing, no such plans have been expressed.

What is DENTNet?

DENTNet was recently added to the DENT company roadmap for 2021. As a concept, DENTNet seeks further decentralisation of the telecoms industry.

DENT’s press release states: “By introducing our own blockchain technology, DENTNet, we will start moving components of mobile network operators into DENTNet nodes.

“This includes customer databases and billing, as well as radio network management. Our grand vision: every node, every cell tower, will act as a micro mobile network powered by the DENTNet blockchain: decentralised and distributed.”

How DENT aims to build the massive amounts of infrastructure required to run a mobile network in a decentralised manner remains unclear, but there is the possibility of Starlink being involved. It seems a natural fit.

What is the DENT token...

So now that we have reviewed the network and system, how does the actual DENT coin work?

The DENT cryptocurrency is the Ethereum-based token that powers the DENT infrastructure. Currently valued at 0.0057 to the US dollar, DENT is used to buy and sell wireless data on the DENT app.

DENT underwent an initial coin offering (ICO) in July 2017, raising $4.3m (€3.8m, £3.2m) on the back of 70 billion offered tokens, whihc valued DENT at $0.00006 at the time of the ICO. 

The total supply of coins is 100 billion – thus, 30 billion remains with the company owners for business expenses, market seeding, salaries, user incentives, bonuses and other operational costs.

DENT has pledged one billion DENT tokens to further the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) into developing countries as part of its ‘Gigabytes for Africa’ programme.

Who started DENT?

Tero Katajainen, DENT’s chief executive officer and founder, is a Finnish electronics whiz who studied electrical engineering at the University of Tampere, Finland. 

Having founded numerous other start-ups over the past two decades, Katajainen initially created the Hong Kong-based DENT Wireless as an IT consultancy before steering it to become the telecoms disruptor it aims to be today.

The user experience: calls

So how do users access the DENT network? First, they need to download the DENT app, after which they can then purchase DENT. To make a call, users first have to select a country-specific voice plan, which is currently offered in 50-minute, 100-minute and 200-minute sizes. 

Thankfully, the DENT Voice plan prices are tied to the US dollar rather than the DENT coin price, saving the inevitable fluctuations in the DENT coin value that could wreak havoc on your plan.

In a test of the app while writing, a domestic call within the UK went off without a hitch, and the call recipient’s incoming message displayed the caller’s number in standard fashion. Calls to Brazil and Australia also seemed to work just fine. 

However, issues occurred while attempting to call Norway, with the app displaying a “sold out” message when attempting to purchase a plan. Website FAQs yielded no answer to this issue, but a help request has been submitted.

DENT on DENT

The user experience: data

Purchasing and and using roaming data is done in much the same way as call minutes. Data packages start at $9.99 per gigabyte (GB), slightly increasing in value for larger packages. A maximum of 10GB can be purchased for $89.99, which is probably enough for a week’s international roaming. Again, these prices are tied to the US dollar to eliminate the problem of fluctuating DENT value.

The marketplace tab is the control surface of the DENT Exchange revolution, where data is bought and sold among users, with prices determined by market forces rather than a preset value. 

While many available packages can be found that are cheaper than DENT’s own set prices, others can be up to 80% more expensive. Package sizes tended to be only fractions of a gigabyte, which is likely down to opportunists hoping to unload their remaining monthly allowances. This presents a problem: will users become frustrated if they must continually purchase small data packages on a daily or even hourly basis? This remains to be seen. 

Apple, Google, Samsung and other major devices are supported, although some manufacturers – such as Huawei – are not.

In general, the front-end experience is quite user friendly. The DENT Voice, e-SIM and marketplace tabs are easily navigable, and DENT tokens can be bought and put into your desired plans. Calls are easy to make, and buying and selling data is very straightforward.

The real test will be how well this innovative platform will cope as more and more users flock to the platform. Problems might occur if demand for data outstrips marketplace supply, while impractical package sizes on the data marketplace could also be a big problem.

FAQs

According to CoinMarketCap, the total circulating supply of DENT coins at the time of writing is 99,007,791,203 DENT tokens against a maximum supply of 100 billion.

The DENT coin was launched as a native cryptocurrency token by the DENT Wireless data-sharing blockchain. It was founded in 2014 by Tero Katajainen.

DENT Wireless owns 20% of all DENT stock, while users of the DENT app and crypto traders hold the rest.

You can buy DENT via the DENT app for use on the DENT network. Elsewise, DENT can be traded on a number of crypto-trading platforms. Be aware that any in-app DENT purchases cannot be externally traded.

We don’t have it yet at Currency.com, but we will let you know if and when we do. Just remember to do your own research and never invest more than you can afford to lose.

Further reading

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