UNICEF announced Wednesday that it has launched a cryptocurrency fund and become the first United Nations organization to hold onto its crypto donations. Without converting them into fiat, the fund will hold two cryptocurrencies and disburse them to support projects benefiting children worldwide.
A First for UN Organizations
UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, has launched a crypto fund to receive, hold and distribute donations of bitcoin and ether in its aim to back open source technology for children around the world. This is made possible through its newly-established Unicef Cryptocurrency Fund,” adding:
Unicef will use cryptocurrencies to fund open source technology benefiting children and young people around the world. The organization added the first contributions to the UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund come from the Ethereum Foundation and “will benefit three grantees of the UNICEF Innovation Fund.”
The Three Beneficiaries
The three aforementioned grantees are that will receive the initial donations are Prescrypto, Utopixar, and Atix Labs. Prescrypto is building Rexchain, a healthcare blockchain. “Your prescriptions will be stored in an encrypted database, which only you — or the people you choose to share them with — can access,” the team described. Utopixar is working on a decentralized blockchain platform for anyone to collaborate on initiatives addressing social and environmental challenges.
The third grantee, Atix Labs, is a software development company focusing on building a blockchain platform that matches startup enterprises to funders. The firm has teamed up with RSK Labs to form a consortium called the Circles of Angels, which is working on using smart contracts for remittances.
Unicef works across more than 190 countries and territories to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. “If digital economies and currencies have the potential to shape the lives of coming generations, it is important that we explore the opportunities they offer,” Executive Director Henrietta Fore opined. “That’s why the creation of our cryptocurrency fund is a significant and welcome step forward in humanitarian and development work.”
The UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund is the UN children agency’s latest push to adopt blockchain technology for its wider goal. Earlier this year, it was in talks with the government of Kyrgyzstan to use blockchain to provide internet access to schools in the country via the so-called Project Connect initiative.
Investing in Startups
In December last year, UNICEF said it was investing $100,000 in six blockchain startups in order to solve global challenges via blockchain, ranging from healthcare delivery transparency to managing finances and resources.
In addition to investing cryptocurrency into early-stage, open-source companies working with children, the fund represents the first time any UN agency, much less one that generated $6.7 billion revenue last year, will be able to accept bitcoin and ethereum donations. The prototype, launched today with a donation of 1 bitcoin and 10,000 ether from the Switzerland-based Ethereum Foundation, has signed agreements with Unicef USA, Unicef France, Unicef Australia, and Unicef New Zealand to start accepting cryptocurrency donations.