Wicrypt Network, the first standalone blockchain-based WiFi sharing network from Africa, has announced the closing of $1.5 million in funding.
The round was led by AU21 Capital, with participation from Polygon founder Sandeep Nailwal, Cardano’s Occam, Inclusion Capital, Outlier Ventures, Chain Capital, Pluto Digital Assets, Onega Ventures, N7 Labs, and PolkaFoundary.
Wicrypt launched in Africa in 2018 as the first peer-to-peer mobile internet sharing network on the continent, before signing an exclusive partnership with the city of Enugu, Nigeria to provide internet service to its citizens. The company was bootstrapped by its founder, before becoming profitable in 2020.
“Investing in an already-profitable company is rare in the blockchain space, but on top of that, Wicrypt is giving people the ability to access the internet in regions where WiFi can be very expensive and unattainable for many people,” said Sandeep Nailwal, Co-founder and COO of Polygon.
“By empowering people to share their WiFi and make money, they are making this a win-win situation for all involved, particularly in remote regions where large internet companies are not incentivized to provide coverage.”
Wicrypt allows anyone to download their app and provide WiFi through their mobile device or by purchasing a unique, custom-built Wicrypt Hotspot Creator device.
WiFi providers can customize their customer experience through their dashboard, by offering surveys, ads, and collecting customer data. Wicrypt-connected devices are all represented by unique NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) that are linked to the blockchain. Data points transmitted through the devices are all represented on the blockchain through the NFTs in real-time on the Wicrypt block explorer.
While Wicrypt hosts are paid by those accessing WiFi, the blockchain-based WiFi sharing startup also incentivizes hosts through its native token, $WNT, for having high device up-time.
“While we have formed substantial business partnerships in Africa, this funding allows us to grow into new countries by increasing our marketing efforts,” said Ugochukwu Aronu, CEO of the startup.
“Wicrypt is providing last-mile internet to people of the world who need it while leveraging the blockchain by having hosts stake $WNT to become a part of the Wicrypt Network. This ensures overall security of the network and that host do not perform malicious actions while providing internet connections to clients.”