In its largest crypto investment to date, UNICEF funds companies using technology to serve humanitarian causes
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced on Friday that eight tech companies are to receive investment from its cryptocurrency wing. UNICEF’s crypto fund will invest 135 ETH (about $30,000) in eight companies from seven developing countries to assist in developing prototypes and to scale their projects.
The selected companies were chosen because they are all developing technology to work towards various humanitarian initiatives, including efforts to mitigate the dangers of COVID-19 for children. This will be the largest investment UNICEF have paid into crypto projects to date.
The investees were selected from 40 start-ups that are part of investment initiatives with UNICEF’s Innovation Fund. The eight selected companies have previously received up to $100,000 for the development of open source and digital goods from the fund.
The companies were chosen based on technical evaluations, quality assessments of their open-source tech solutions, evidence of impact and more. Investees will also receive “business growth mentorship, product, and technical assistance, open-source and UX and UI development, access to experts and partners, as well as opportunities to showcase their solutions,” stated the announcement by UNICEF.
The eight chosen companies are Afinidata, Avyantra, Cireha, Ideasis, OS City, StaTwig, Somleng, and Utopic. Their areas of work involve a broad range of humanitarian issues, from aiding children with speech impairment, to collaborating with governments to ensure food safety standards.
The tech firms use artificial intelligence, data science and blockchain, to work on innovative solution-oriented projects.
Speaking about the benefits of transferring investment funds through crypto, Chris Fabian, Senior Adviser at UNICEF Venture, said, “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.”
He added that cryptocurrency offers speed and transparency that can be very important moving forward. “Almost instant global movement of the 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,” he said.
This is one of the many cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based initiatives being explored by the international organisation. The UNICEF Innovation Fund and the Crypto Fund also have an open-call for blockchain-based solutions to apply for funding and mentorship.
“We are seeing the digital world come at us more quickly than we could have imagined – and UNICEF must be able to use all of the tools of this new world to help children today and tomorrow,” Fabian said.