The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the latest humanitarian institution to put cryptocurrencies to good use. It now appears to have finally begun disbursing funds from its UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund. This week, the children-focused arm of the United Nations announced that it would be sending 125 ETH tokens (worth about $28,500) to eight tech companies, all of which are based out of emergent economies.
Testing Crypto Transfers for International Aid
Per the release, the funds will be aimed at helping these companies to scale up and prototype their technologies for the next six months. The same companies have already received over $100,000 in fiat currency, thus making this funding technique a new step for the humanitarian organization.
In the statement, Chris Fabian, the Co-Lead of UNICEF Ventures, explained that the body is merely responding to the quick shift that the world has made towards digital technologies. He added that UNICEF has seen a significant need to adopt these new technologies if it hopes to keep helping children.
“The transfer of these funds – to eight companies in seven countries around the world – took less than 20 minutes and cost us less than $20. Almost instant global movement of value, fees of less than 0.00009% of the total amount transferred, and real-time transparency for our donors and supporters are the types of tools we are excited about,” the statement read in part.
On pretty much the same day, the agency also got a significant boost in the blockchain space. Per a report from Venture Beat, global gaming giant Ubisoft announced that it had launched digital collectibles for Rabbids, one of its most popular gaming franchises.
The report explained that the collectibles are based on the Ethereum blockchain, and Ubisoft will be releasing 55 of them. The assets are also represented by ERC-71 Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). Each of the collectibles has its value, design, and specific properties. Users can trade them like trading cards, and Ubisoft confirmed that it would be donating all the proceeds from the sale of the collectibles to the UNICEF Fund.
The United Nations Crypto and Blockchain Efforts
All of these underline what appears to be the United Nations sifting significantly towards the use of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology. As the UNICEF press release explained, a body with such importance will also need to change with the times if it hopes to conduct its operations more efficiently.
With more talk of digital payments and a growing number of countries testing the possible applications of blockchain technology for them, it’s only right that the United Nations evolves too. And it has done pretty well at just that. UN secretary-general António Guterres claimed last year that the agency would have to embrace blockchain if it hopes to deliver on its mandate in the digital age. The agency has so far made some critical moves to that regard.
Earlier this year, Forbes Magazine released its Blockchain 50 list, chronicling the companies and organizations that have embraced the technology actively. The compilation list included the United Nations, as well as several top tech firms like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. Banking giant JPMorganChase featured on the list too, and crypto firms Coinbase, ripple, and Bitfury made appearances.