Indian TikTok competitor Chingari raises $19 million to develop a ‘social token’

Chingari, an Indian short-form video sharing platform, announced Friday that it raised $19 million via a token sale. In addition, the startup plans to launch its own social token, $GARI, on the Solana blockchain. 

Republic Crypto, Galaxy Digital, Alameda Research, Solana Capital, Kraken, Blackpine, NGC, Coinfund, LD Capital, Borderless Capital, AU21, Cultur3 Capital, Long Term Ventures, Afton Capital, CSP DAO and around 15 others participated in the sale.

The Indian startup intends to use the funds to continue building the infrastructure for its $GARI token, which allows creators on the platform to establish an e-commerce storefront for their physical merchandise, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or direct payments from fans. 

Users will receive $GARI tokens if they watch or upload content on the platform, Chingari CEO Sumit Ghosh told The Block. These tokens can then be used to unlock a creator's special content or to buy a voice or video call with a creator. In addition, individuals can use $GARI to buy or sell videos on the platform — which will all become NFTs on the Solana blockchain. 

“The future of a platform lies in its creators,” said Ghosh in a statement. “On one side, we have an immense talent pool that needs to be explored, and rewarded with an ethical amount of monetization. On the other side, while crypto experiences a rapid expansion in India, $GARI is poised to make it mainstream. We are infusing the two, through robust strategies and incorporation of the most-promising industry advances.”

Chingari claims to have 80 million users. It helped fill the short-form video void when the Indian Ministry of Electronics & IT banned the more popular app TikTok, which has over 1 billion users, in June of this year.