A $2 million seed funding round headed by Stillmark and Jack Dorsey co-founded payments company Block has been secured by Gridless, a bitcoin mining business that helps develop new energy sources in remote East African areas, the company said on Tuesday.
The financing would help the business spread its bitcoin mining operations throughout African markets. Five project pilots, three of which are currently in operation, were contracted by Gridless in its first year with the African hydroelectric energy business HydroBox in rural Kenya. The business intends to go out soon to other parts of East Africa.
In rural Africa, where there is a surplus of energy, Gridless designs, constructs, and manages bitcoin mining facilities alongside small-scale renewable energy producers.
Our friends @GridlessCompute doing some incredibly cool work monetizing micro-hydro plants in Kenya.
— NickH ? ?? (@hash_bender) October 4, 2022
As the main contractor and manager of the data centers in these outlying areas without access to traditional industrial or commercial clients, Gridless acts as the anchor tenant.
According to Alyse Killeen, Managing Partner of Stillmark, a venture financing firm, Gridless offers “a socially and environmentally sustainable approach to bitcoin mining, one that gives actual benefits by way of access to electricity for populations in rural portions of East Africa.”
“Gridless offers a close strategic alignment with our objective of ensuring the bitcoin network increasingly harnesses renewable energy, in concert with bitcoin compute hubs throughout the world,” stated Thomas Templeton, Bitcoin Mining and Wallet Lead at Block.
The funding comes at a time when Africa is experiencing a grassroots cryptocurrency movement that is driving the world’s largest percentage of retail payments of under $1,000 and significantly more peer-to-peer transactions relative to all other regions. Due to this year’s challenging market conditions, which have seen bitcoin prices decline and energy costs soar, cutting profit margins, bitcoin miners have been battling to survive.
But in recent months, mining firms with access to inexpensive electricity and more creative business models have been successful in raising money.
Aspen Creek Digital Corp. (ACDC), a new solar-powered bitcoin miner, recently closed a $4.3 million funding round, and Vespene Energy, a company that uses methane gas released from landfills to generate electricity for bitcoin mining, raised $8 million in Series A funding.