Indian TikTok challenger raises $19M to launch social token on Solana

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Indian short-video sharing platform Chingari is preparing to launch its own blockchain network and social token.

Chingari has completed a $19-million funding round to launch its mainnet and conduct a token sale for its Solana-based GARI token in November, the firm announced on Friday.

Chingari co-founder and CEO Sumit Ghosh said that the token sale is scheduled for Nov. 2, while the mainnet launch and application integration are expected to have gone live by the end of that month.

Co-led by major blockchain investors such as Republic Crypto and Mike Novogratz’s investment firm, Galaxy Digital, the new raise included over 30 venture funds and individual investors, including Sam Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research, Solana Capital and Kraken crypto exchange.

Ghosh stated that the $19-million funding was completed via a GARI token raise in one seed round and one private round. These raises followed two equity rounds where Chingari raised $1.3 million in 2020 and $13 million in April 2021.

According to Ghosh, Chingari’s blockchain platform will allow users to obtain tokens for creating or watching content. “What Axie Infinity did for gaming, we want to do for social media,” he said.

“The idea that a lot of people can make a small amount of money and uplift themselves by participating in a social platform is very powerful and Chingari wants to make this vision possible,” the executive added.

Ghosh declined to comment on whether Chingari has obtained any regulatory approvals for its token.

Related: TikTok embraces NFTs with creator-led collection

Since India banned TikTok earlier this year, a number of firms — including Chingari — have tried to fill the void for short video-sharing apps in the subcontinent. Following the ban, Chingari claims that its user base grew from 100,000 to 50 million people in six months.

Social media firms are increasingly moving into the crypto industry, with Chinese social media giant TikTok announcing its first foray into the nonfungible token industry in late September. Previously, Twitter enabled its users to tip each other using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC).