The Ethereum Foundation made a donation to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) worth $150,000 in Bitcoin and Ethereum, into their experimental crypto fund in October 2019.
Aya Miyaguchi, the Ethereum Foundation Director stated:
“We are still discussing the details on what we can do together, but we have decided to continue support for the next couple of years,”
“I believe a partnership with a group like UNICEF can maximize our impact without shifting our focus from what we still need to do to improve Ethereum as a technology.”
The Kazakhstan branch of UNICEF developed an Ethereum-based internal payment system. The system is used for transferring funds between the UNICEF headquarters and local programs.
UNICEF’s partnership specialist, Oleksandra Gaskevych, stated:
“We can see now clearly it’s operational and it’s great for the organization. So we will continue to work on that,”
“We only have used ethereum so far, for smart contracts. We’re thinking maybe we could test bitcoin as well for digital currency transfers, so we’ll see.”
The system is not fully set yet, as the UNICEF budgets need multiple signatures. But the last touches are being made by the Kazakhstan team. Up to this day, the amount of paperwork required by its operations is overwhelming. A digital process will come much more in hand, and everything will be more transparent and easy to track and follow.
The Ethereum-based system is expected to be fully functional in 2021.
“We can easily adapt it to other Russian-speaking countries in the region,”
UNICEF has also become a partner of SoftBank Investment Advisers (SBIA) and wants to create a system for distributing cryptocurrency.
The co-lead of UNICEF Ventures, Chris Fabian, stated that the crypto fund is starting to fund startups. One such crypto startup is Coinsence, a Tunisian token project which used ERC-20 tokens.
The pilot program for Coinsence has more than 200 participants, in the town of Hammamet, according to its founder, Karim Chabrak.
“There are communities that have no money and a lot of unemployed youth,”
“Communities need to be able to address that without waiting for governments to act.”
The residents of the city, who participated in the pilot program, used the token to pay for services or to offer discounts. The goal is to reduce the unemployment rate and to create productive spending habits. The founder of Coinsence, Karim Chabrak want to create a national association, with a legal framework, to help and support other communities to issue their local token.
Chabrak also stated:
“We heard about bitcoin in 2010,”
“But we are trying to build currencies that aren’t speculative, that are part of the commons.”
These experiments and programs were founded by the Ethereum Foundation. Coinsence received 50 ETH for their pilot program.
The Ehereum Foundation also founded Atix Labs, an Argentinian startup. The funds were used to develop software for the Kazakhstan program.
The Ethereum Foundation approach
With this agreement with UNICEF, the Ethereum Foundation and community is now investing in global outreach, and not necessarily in implementing blockchain solution.
“They’ve made the community available to us for a variety of things,” Fabian said.
UNICEF hopes to find external partners willing to accept cryptocurrency and their teams are now focused on training youth to develop solutions for custom needs of the communities they live in.