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How Bitcoin mining helps communities while promoting renewables in Africa

Early December, Bitcoin mining company Gridless announced it had secured a $2M financing. The investors leading the round were venture capital fund Stillmark, and Block, a well known payment company co-led by Jack Dorsey.

The funding will help the company expand its activities in East African regions. Gridless has already launched 5 five Bitcoin mining projects using hydroelectric energy in Kenya by partnering with HydroBox, an African hydroelectric energy company. The bitcoin mines are built alongside small renewable energy plants and use only the excess power, allowing to monetise energy that would otherwise be wasted. This is a real win-win deal as both communities and miners get cheaper energy, which in turn promote the development of renewable energy in Africa.

According to Alyse Killeen, a managing partner at Stillmark, it is 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”. Gridless helps ensure that the bitcoin network becomes increasingly sustainable, while providing concrete social benefits.

As Bitcoin miners had a difficult year due to low prices, innovative business models using low-cost energy such as Gridless were able to raise capital and expand their activities.