Wicrypt, a Nigerian blockchain-based Wi-Fi sharing startup, has raised US$1.5 million in a strategic funding round to help it expand into new countries.
Wicrypt is a decentralized mobile internet sharing and monetisation network that allows anyone to earn money by sharing their Wi-Fi with others. Users can either download the Wicrypt software and deliver Wi-Fi from their mobile device or purchase a one-of-a-kind Wicrypt Hotspot Creator device.
Wi-Fi providers can customize their customers’ experiences using the Wicrypt dashboard, which includes surveys, ads, and data collection. Wicrypt-enabled devices are all represented by one-of-a-kind NFTs linked to the blockchain. While users using WiFi pay Wicrypt hosts, Wicrypt also rewards hosts with its native coin, $WNT, for having high device uptime.
In 2018, the startup launched in Africa, signing an exclusive agreement to supply internet service to the inhabitants of Enugu, Nigeria. It became profitable in 2020 after being bootstrapped by its founder, and it has now acquired US$1.25 million in investment to help it go even further.
The round was led by AU21 Capital, with participation from Polygon founder Sandeep Nailwal, Inclusion Capital, Outlier Ventures, Chain Capital, Pluto Digital Assets, Onega Ventures, N7 Labs, Cardano and PolkaFoundary.
“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, chief executive officer (CEO) of Wicrypt.
“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.”
Wicrypt is offering people the option to access the internet in locations where Wi-Fi can be highly expensive and unattainable for many people, according to Nailwal, who added that investing in a profitable company was unusual in the blockchain world.
“By empowering people to share their Wi-Fi and make money, they are making this a win-win situation for all involved, particularly in remote regions where large internet companies are not incentivised to provide coverage,” he said.