Billionaire entrepreneur, Shark Tank judge, and crypto investor Mark Cuban locked horns with World Mobile CEO Micky Watkins this week over the utility of projects built on Cardano.
Cuban has historically been critical of Cardano and its utility and recently turned to Twitter to voice his skepticism around the potential for success of Cardano-based projects in Africa.
The post led to Cardano advocates speaking out on Twitter. The community voiced their perspective on the blockchain’s ability to deliver real-world services. Cuban responded he had not seen much adoption of Cardano applications or demand for payments in $ADA.
The discussion quickly moved on to the Cardano-based project, World Mobile Token (WMT), which powers the World Mobile network as an example of real-world utility and value. World Mobile delivers a sharing economy that allows anyone to own a part of a network built by the people and earn income for connecting people around the world.
Cuban quickly came back, stating the World Mobile network and token needed “a real” business model to succeed, and asked whether it had even begun to earn revenue from users on its network.
At this point, World Mobile CEO Micky Watkins entered the debate, responding with a tweet citing the company’s average revenue per unit (ARPU) in Tanzania of $3 per month.
A Passionate and Public Debate
This Tweet off a long and passionate debate between Watkins and Cuban, with Cuban grilling Watkins about World Mobile’s business model and Watkins responding with data-led arguments around utility, adoption, and scaling.
Cuban was initially skeptical, but the conversation quickly turned technical, with Cuban asking Watkins about the type of mesh protocols World Mobile uses, customer bandwidth, and more.
Cuban and Watkins also argued over feedback from end users, with Cuban stating:
“I don’t see you retweeting anything from actual end users. Which is why I’m so cynical about this and all the cardano Africa project posts. They don’t come from end users. Every great product lets the users do the talking for them.”
Watkins responded by linking to a series of testimonial videos from users connected to and using the World Mobile network in Zanzibar.
The Change in Attitude
Throughout this energetic debate, Watkins and World Mobile seemed to score a few points with Cuban, who commended the goals of the project and the idea of reducing capital expenditure by allowing users to build out the network and own infrastructure.
Finally, after the lengthy discussion on how the network nodes work, Watkins signed off the Twitter debate with a friendly and open invitation for further discussion.
Cuban’s debate with Watkins served to show that regardless of the scepticism surrounding the Cardano, all that matters are the solutions blockchain has to offer. The value of World Mobile and WMT lies in real-world utility and a sound business model that holds up under fire from the “shark” himself. Perhaps this is the project that makes Cuban fall in love with Cardano after all.