UNICEF Innovation invests in blockchain


The UNICEF Innovation Fund has chosen to invest $100 000 in six blockchain start-ups. The charity hopes the companies can deliver open-source prototypes of blockchain applications within 12-months.

UNICEF selected the six from over 100 applications, and they will join the 20 technology start-ups that are already under the Fund’s management.

Here’s what each of them is focusing on:

  • Atix Labs (Argentina) – a platform for small/medium sized firms which helps to find finance and their funding can be traced and monitored.
  • Onesmart (Mexico) – reducing the misappropriation of funds in emerging markets so that public services are delivered efficiently.
  • Statwig (India) – a solution which improves supply chain management to ensure the delivery of vaccines.
  • Prescrypto (Mexico) – addressing the lack of electronic prescriptions with a platform which allows medical service providers to view a complete history of a patient’s health.
  • Utopixar (Tunisia) – a tool that supports participative decision making and value transfer.
  • W3 Engineers (Bangladesh) – improving connectivity within migrant and refugee communities by developing an offline mobile networking platform which doesn’t require sim cards or internet connection.

These investments also represent a part of UNICEF’s larger blockchain strategy. The charity will continue to explore the potential of blockchain especially in the use of smart contracts to improve organizational efficiencies and create distributed decision-making processes.

Chris Fabian, Principal Adviser, UNICEF Innovation, also added: “Blockchain technology is still at an early stage – and there is a great deal of experimentation, failure, and learning ahead of us as we see how, and where, we can use this technology to create a better world. That’s exactly the stage when UNICEF Innovation Fund invests: when our financing, technical support, and focus on vulnerable populations can help a technology grow and mature in the most fair and equitable way possible.”

Many other charities are experimenting with blockchain. One of the highest profile is Oxfam‘s trials for rice food traceability in Cambodia. The aim is to empower farmers.