The United Nations agency UNICEF has become the first UN organization to hold onto its crypto donations, launching a Cryptocurrency Fund on October 9.
UNICEF’s Cryptocurrency Fund will hold two cryptocurrencies and disburse them to support projects that benefit children worldwide. The organization explained that UNICEF will now be able to receive, hold and disburse cryptocurrency donations in Bitcoin and Ether, through the newly-founded UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund.
In a first for the UN, UNICEF will use cryptocurrency to fund open-source technologies that benefit children and the youth population around the world. The agency noted that its national committees in the U.S., France, Australia, and New Zealand currently accept crypto donations.
In April 2018, Unicef also launched The Hopepage, a website that mines cryptocurrency using the computer processing power of visitors. At the time of writing, over 30,800 people are actively donating their computing power to it, according to the website.
UNICEF works to reach disadvantaged children in more than 190 countries and territories. “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.”
UNICEF confirmed that contributions would be held in the cryptocurrency of contribution, and granted out in the same cryptocurrency.
The UN agency also revealed that the Ethereum Foundation will make the first contribution to its fund through its French national committee. Three grantees of the UNICEF Innovation Fund will benefit from these initial donations, and so will a project coordinated by the GIGA initiative to connect schools to the internet around the world.
The UNICEF Innovation Fund “invests in solutions that can impact the lives of the most vulnerable children,” its website details. Initially, the fund invested $5.9 million in 76 projects and 42 countries, intending to invest in 20 more start-ups in 2019.
Christopher Fabian, who co-founded UNICEF’s Innovation Unit, previously explained the importance of being able to prove where the donated money is going.
“To achieve that level of transparency with cryptocurrencies, organizations will need to be able to receive, manage, and distribute crypto funds without converting them,” he remarked. “In other words, to track where your Bitcoin donation went, it has to end up at the point of need still as Bitcoin.”
The three aforementioned grantees 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 that focuses 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 Circle of Angels, which is working on using smart contracts for remittances.