East African bitcoin mining company, Gridless, has secured a $2 million seed investment round led by Stillmark and Jark Dorsey co-founded payments firm Block. Gridless has been helping generate new sources of energy in East African rural communities.
The investment will support the company’s expansion of bitcoin mines across African markets. The company has contracted five project pilots 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 as well.
Gridless designs, builds and operates bitcoin mining sites alongside small-scale renewable energy producers in rural Africa where excess energy is unused. The company serves as the anchor tenant, financing the construction and managing the operation of data centres in these rural communities where traditional industrial or commercial customers are unavailable.
“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,” says Alyse Killeen, Managing Partner at Stillmark, a venture capital firm.
“Gridless represents a close strategic alignment with our vision of ensuring the bitcoin network increasingly leverages clean energy, in combination with bitcoin computational centres around the world,” Thomas Templeton, Bitcoin Mining and Wallet Lead at Block added.
The funding comes as Africa experiences a grassroots crypto movement, propelling the world’s highest proportion of retail payments of less than $1,000 and leading to far more peer-to-peer transactions proportionally than all other regions globally. Bitcoin miners have been struggling to survive amid this year’s gruelling market conditions, which have seen bitcoin prices fall and energy costs surge, reducing profit margins.
However, in recent months, mining companies that have access to low-cost energy and more innovative business models have succeeded in raising capital.