Today, UNICEF announced the launch of its Cryptocurrency Fund, which allows the UN body to receive, hold, and distribute donations made in blockchain-based digital assets. This makes it the first UN organization to have and make transactions in cryptocurrency.
The children’s agency already has a fund, the UNICEF Innovation Fund, contributing to blockchain startups which focus on welfare or the development of emerging economies. Now the national committees of UNICEF Australia, New Zealand, France, and the US can fund such projects with cryptocurrency. Ether and Bitcoin are currently accepted, with the Ethereum Foundation making the first donation to the Cryptocurrency Fund.
The Foundation’s Executive Director, Aya Miyaguchi, said: “The Ethereum Foundation is excited to demonstrate the power of what Ethereum and blockchain technology can do for communities around the world. Together with UNICEF, we’re taking action with the Cryptofund to improve access to basic needs, rights, and resources.”
This initial donation will go to three of the awarded blockchain firms through the UNICEF Innovation Fund and a separate project to bring internet to schools around the world.
“This is a new and exciting venture for UNICEF,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.
“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. That’s why the creation of our Cryptocurrency Fund is a significant and welcome step forward in humanitarian and development work,” she continued.
The UN body has “ongoing work with blockchain technology,” as today’s announcement read. Indeed, UNICEF co-leads the UN Innovation Network with the World Food Programme (WFP). The network explores blockchain and emerging technologies and had a hand in the identity project launched by charity Kiva this year.
Meanwhile, co-leading WFP is one of the 100 members of the World Economic Forum’s supply chain initiative. The UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) released cross-industry blockchain standards just last week.