Wicrypt, an innovative African startup that enables users to share and monetise their Wi-Fi connections, is breaking into the Chinese market through a strategic partnership with Singaporean tech investment Onega Ventures, the company said in a mid-November tweet on social media.
The deal, announced on X, formerly Twitter, will see Onega Ventures become the exclusive distributor of Wicrypt devices in China, and provide customer support and management services.
“We are excited to partner with Onega Ventures as an official Wicrypt agent and sole distributor of Wicrypt devices in China. This means that you can now purchase, repair and manage your Wicrypt devices at Onega Ventures in China,” it posted.
This marks the first entry of Wicrypt into the Asian continent, where it hopes to tap into the huge demand for fast and affordable internet access.
Wicrypt is hoping to provide last-mile internet to people worldwide while harnessing the power of blockchain technology. Wicrypt’s foray into China also underscores the coming of age of Africa’s startup ecosystem – now one of the world’s most vibrant in terms of VC interest.
Founded in 2018, Wicrypt, a Web3 company, leverages blockchain technology to create a decentralised network of WiFi hotspots.
Users can either download the WiCrypt app or buy the WiCrypto device, a customisable hotspot creator that can also display ads, surveys, and collect user data and which allows users to share their mobile data with others, safely, to create a network.
The WiCrypt network is powered by NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), which are unique digital assets that represent each connected device on the blockchain. All the data transactions that occur through the WiCrypt devices are recorded on the blockchain via the corresponding NFTs, ensuring transparency and security.
WiCrypt also rewards its users for providing WiFi services, both in cash and in its native token, $WNT. Users pay a small fee to access the Wi-Fi, while hosts earn income and incentives for keeping their devices online.
The $WNT token can also be staked by hosts to join the WiCrypt Network, a community of WiFi providers that benefit from shared resources and governance.
WiCrypt has grown rapidly since its inception, reaching nearly 1,100 hotspots in over 30 countries, serving more than 45,000 accounts and transmitting over 895 terabytes of data.
In 2021, the startup raised US$1.5 million in funding, which it used to expand its operations and target new markets, including China.
China is the world’s second-largest economy, with a population of 1.4 billion and over 800 million internet users. It also has a vibrant tech ecosystem, with many innovations in areas such as e-commerce, fintech, and social media.
WiCrypt aims to capture a slice of this market by offering a novel and cost-effective way of accessing the internet, especially for the underserved and rural areas.
WiCrypt CEO Ugochukwu Aronu expressed his excitement about the partnership with Onega Ventures, saying that it was a great opportunity to showcase the potential of African Web3 startups in the global arena.
He also shared his vision of creating a passive income stream for millions of people who use the internet daily, by turning their devices into WiFi hotspots.
Bruno Yu, COO of Onega Ventures, said that he was impressed by WiCrypt’s innovative and scalable model and that he was looking forward to working with the team to grow the WiCrypt network in China.
Yu is an early investor in WiCrypt and has extensive experience in the Chinese tech sector.
WiCrypt is not only a pioneer in the African Web3 space but also a beneficiary of the Nigerian Communications Commission, which invested US$5,500 in the startup during its early stages.