Bitcoin mining company Gridless, which is helping to bring new energy generation to rural communities in East Africa, has raised $2 million in a seed investment round.
Gridless said the funding round was led by Stillmark and Block, Inc. according to an official press release. The investment will support the company’s expansion of bitcoin mines across Africa.
Speaking about the mission, Gridless CEO, Erik Hersman said: “Africa needs affordable electricity. Our work in supporting renewable energy mini grid developers fills a gap, helping developers expand faster, be more sustainable, and serve thousands of households. This investment, and the high calibre of partners coming alongside us, means that we can accelerate our rollout knowing that we have both the capital and strategic support required.”
Supporting pilot projects
The mining company entered five different pilot projects in rural Kenya in its first operational year, alongside African hydroelectric energy company, HydroBox. Three of these pilots have taken off and are operational. Gridless is the financial arm of the operation, which finances construction and management of data centres in rural communities.
The mining company has now set its sights on expansion into other areas in East Africa.
Managing partner at Stillmark, Alyse Killeen, explained the decision behind the joint funding round alongside Block, noting that “Stillmark is focused on investing in companies that are helping to advance the Bitcoin ecosystem in ways that offer sustainable value and solutions to many. Gridless does this by bringing 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.”
Focus on clean energy
This was corroborated by Thomas Templeton, the regional Block lead, who added that “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.”
Former Twitter CEO and Bitcoin advocate, Jack Dorsey, also welcomed the move, tweeting about the symbiotic relationship that will help about 500 families in the region.
Per the press release, over 50 percent of Africans had no electricity in 2020. Gridless sees itself as a firm that’s playing a crucial role in bringing cheap and reliable electricity in the region. This would create a basis for community infrastructure 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 centre.”