A crypto startup providing wifi hotspot sharing services in Nigeria has won funding from the country’s telecom regulator. Wicrypt placed second among 25 tech companies participating in an innovation competition organized by the Nigeria Communication Commission and it’s going to receive a grant worth 2 million naira to finance its project.
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Wicrypt Users Can Earn and Spend Crypto
Wicrypt allows subscribers to earn money by sharing their mobile data with other users who pay for the service. The platform’s app has been developed for Android and iOS devices and is already available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Hosts can connect their wireless routers to Wicrypt as well and set a price for the wifi hotspot. Clients pay to gain access but are also free to reward the hosts for the network quality and speed.
To connect to Wicrypt hotspots, wifi users need to have a sufficient amount of Wicrypt credits (WCs), the platform’s website explains. The application verifies if a beneficiary has enough credits in their wallet to pay for the service. WCs can be acquired and redeemed with a wide choice of payment methods available to both sides. Ugochukwu Aronu, founder of the company based in the Nigerian state of Enugu, commented:
Wicrypt will help Nigerians earn money online using and sharing their mobile data.
The payment options include regular bank accounts and cards as well as crypto payments with bitcoin core (BTC), ethereum (ETH) and Binance coin (BNB). Deposits and withdrawals can also be made through the Kenyan mobile phone-based money transfer system Mpesa. Text-based payments offered by telecom companies are quite popular in African countries. These provide an opportunity for crypto payments to expand in developing nations, as is the case with Cointext, which provides users with a bitcoin cash wallet and an SMS channel to send and receive BCH.
Wicrypt has been chosen to receive 2 million naira in funding, which is more than $5,500, as a grant from Nigeria’s telecom regulator. Dozens of technological innovators took part in the three-day Innovation Competition and Exhibition conducted by the Nigeria Communication Commission. The NCC recently released the final list of 25 contenders and Wicrypt is second in the rating, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) announced. The companies that received government grants can invest the prize money into their business development.
Other Funding Programs Launched
The NIPC also notes that the Lagos State Government recently launched a 250 million Nigerian naira seed funding for startups focusing on innovations, including in the blockchain and other fintech fields. The initiative was announced by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu during the Art of Technology Lagos 1.0 conference held in early December with over 1,500 young innovators and tech solutions developers. Funds were also distributed among blockchain startups during another event, the Zenithtech Fair 2019 in November.
These funding projects may indicate a change in the attitude of Nigerian authorities toward the nascent crypto industry, at least on a regional level. The federal government has generally had a negative stance regarding the blockchain space so far, with the Central Bank of Nigeria issuing warnings against investment in cryptocurrencies which it does consider legal tender in the country. Nigerians, however, have been growing fonder of digital coins.
According to a study conducted by Binance Research, the trends in Google searches for “bitcoin” have noticeably shifted in the past few years, from the developed West to the East, including regions in Eastern Europe and Asia, but most recently on the African continent. A video with the results released this past fall shows that Nigeria has been topping the chart for a whole year until September 2019.
Do you think the Nigerian government is changing its policy toward the crypto space? Share your thoughts on the topic in the comments section below.
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