East African Bitcoin Miner Gridless Raises $2M Seed Round

Gridless, a bitcoin mining company that helps generate new sources of energy in East African rural communities, has secured a $2 million seed investment round led by Stillmark and Jack Dorsey co-founded payments firm Block, the company announced Tuesday.

The investment will support the company’s expansion of bitcoin mines across African markets. In its first year, Gridless 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.

Gridless designs, builds and operates bitcoin mining sites alongside small-scale renewable energy producers in rural Africa where excess energy is unused. Gridless serves as the anchor tenant, financing the construction and managing the operation of data centers 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.

Thomas Templeton, Bitcoin Mining and Wallet Lead at Block, added: “Gridless represents a close strategic alignment with our vision of ensuring the bitcoin network increasingly leverages clean energy, in combination with bitcoin computational centers around the world.”

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 grueling 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..

Most recently, a new solar-powered bitcoin miner, Aspen Creek Digital Corp. (ACDC), raised $8 million in Series A funding and Vespene Energy, a company that converts methane gas released from landfills into power for bitcoin mining, closed a $4.3 million funding round.