IGWT Block aims to bring blockchain to the second-hand mobile phone market

Technology holding company IGWT Block is building a blockchain-based platform for second-hand mobile phones.

Founded in 2017 as a subsidiary of mobile phone distributor PCS Wireless, IGWT Block's pitch is to use the technology in an effort to resolve trust issues that plague the market as it exists today.

Currently, platforms like Amazon have to manually inspect second-hand items to make sure that their conditions match the descriptions. This system introduces risks and the problem of trust, IGWT Block President Flavio Mansi told The Block, as buyers have to count on the intermediary to correctly judge a phone’s condition and return their money if a quality issue arises. 

“Why do you necessarily have to trust Amazon?” Mansi asked. 

IGWT Block’s proposed platform, on the other hand, will make use of smart contracts to directly connect buyers and sellers, eliminating the need for any middleman.

After a purchase is made, Mansi explained, the money will be stored in a smart contract until the buyer receives the phone, evaluates it using IGWT Block’s diagnosis tool, and makes sure that the product received matches the advertisement.

“If anyone is being deceitful in any way, the money reverts back,” Mansi said. “The smart contract is governing the transaction as opposed to us having to put ourselves in the middle and mediate disputes amongst them,” 

As the technology evolves, Manisi said, customers will eventually be able to see images of the exact phone they wish to purchase. This will make information more symmetric and create a more educated buying force.

The model took inspiration from the secondhand car market, Mansi said. Indeed, companies like JPMorgan are trying to create blockchain-based automobile inventory systems to phase out human inspectors and bring more efficiency to the commercial lending process. 

Right now, IGWT Block is only selling certified pre-owned phones–much like what Amazon is doing to build up its customer base before the blockchain platform goes live. 

The company is planning to spin out from PCS Wireless in the near future, an IGWT Block spokesperson told The Block, and is seeking partners and strategic investors.

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