Kenyan Bitcoin mining company raises $2M
Kenyan bitcoin mining company, Gridless has secured a $2 million seed investment.
By Anna B Kiwanuka
Kenyan Bitcoin mining company, Gridless revealed at the Africa Bitcoin Conference that it secured $2 million in a seed investment round led by bitcoin venture capital firm Stillmark and payments company Block, a firm that is led by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.
The bitcoin mining company is known for generating new sources of energy in rural communities in East Africa.
According to Erik Hersman, CEO of Gridless, the investment will support the company’s further expansion of bitcoin mines across African markets.
In its first year, Gridless started five projects in rural Kenya with African hydroelectric energy company HydroBox, three of which are operational. The company plans to expand to other East African regions in the near future.
Gridless designs, installs and operates bitcoin mining facilities alongside small-scale renewable energy providers in rural Africa where extra energy is underused. The bitcoin mining company also serves as the anchor tenant, financing the construction and managing the operation of data centers in rural locations where typical industrial or commercial customers are unavailable.
Alyse Killeen, the Managing Partner at Stillmark, noted in an announcement that Gridless brings a socially and environmentally conscious approach to bitcoin mining, one that provides tangible benefits by way of access to electricity for communities in rural parts of East Africa.
Thomas Templeton, bitcoin mining and wallet lead at Block, added: “Gridless represents a close strategic alignment with our vision of ensuring the bitcoin network increasingly leverages clean energy, in combination with bitcoin computational centers around the world.”
Gridless believes bitcoin mining can play a pivotal role as a buyer of first and last resort in creating more sustainable energy production and increasing electrification for local communities in the region. The electricity generated from these sites is prioritized for community electrification and to support community uplift businesses such as containerized cold storage for local farmers, battery charging stations for electric motorcycles, and public WiFi points. After those needs are met, the remaining electricity capacity is used to power the bitcoin computational mining data center.
“While bitcoin mining has been dominant in North America, Europe, and Asia, Africa presents a great opportunity to further diversify mining across the globe, helping to better secure the network. Renewable energy is abundant on the continent. This presents an excellent potential for profits for both energy generators and miners as well as the ability to deliver a real positive impact on the communities where it is put to use,” Herman emphasized.
Gridless’ funding comes as Africa experiences a grassroots crypto movement. It has the world’s highest proportion of retail payments of less than $1,000 and more peer-to-peer transactions proportionally than any other region. Bitcoin miners, however, have been struggling to survive amid this year’s grueling market conditions, which have seen bitcoin (BTC) prices fall and energy costs surge, reducing profit margins.