Wicrypt, a Nigerian blockchain-based Wi-Fi sharing startup has raised the sum of $1.5 million in a funding round.
The funding 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.
The newly secured fund is expected to help the decentralised mobile internet sharing and monetisation network expand into new countries, according to Disrupt Africa.
The startup became profitable in 2020, but it was initially launched in 2018 and signed an exclusive partnership with the city of Enugu, Nigeria to provide internet service to its citizens.
Users can download the Wicrypt app and provide Wi-Fi through their mobile device or by purchasing a unique custom-built Wicrypt hotspot creator device.
Wi-Fi providers can also customize their user experience through their Wicrypt dashboard by offering surveys, ads, and collecting customer data.
Wicrypt-connected devices work with unique NFTs that are linked to the blockchain. In addition to getting paid by those accessing WiFi, it also offers incentives to hosts through its $WNT for having a high device up-time.
Ugochukwu Aronu, chief executive officer (CEO) of Wicrypt said the platform has formed substantial business partnerships in Africa, but the funding will further allow for expansion into new countries by increasing marketing efforts.
He said, “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 hosts do not perform malicious actions while providing internet connections to clients.”
Commenting on the deal, Sandeep Nailwal said that Wicrypt is giving people the ability to access the internet in regions where Wi-Fi can be very expensive and unattainable for many people, even as investing in an already-profitable company was rare in the blockchain space.
Nailwal motioned that empowering people to share their Wi-Fi and make money makes this a win-win situation for all involved, particularly in remote regions where large internet companies have no incentives to provide coverage.