Donating to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) may turn out to be the Ethereum Foundation’s smartest move yet. In October 2019, Ethereum donated roughly $150,000 worth of bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) to UNICEF’s experimental crypto fund. Ethereum Foundation Director Aya Miyaguchi recently announced that the company has decided to continue the support for the next couple of years as they believe a partnership with a group like UNICEF can maximize impact without shifting focus.
Since the October donation, the UNICEF Kazakhstan office has developed an ethereum-based system for processing internal payments, such as sending funds from the UNICEF headquarters to people running a local education program. UNICEF partnership specialist Oleksandra Gaskevych said they are now planning to test bitcoin as well for digital currency transfers.
Gaskevych said the office expects to start transitioning over to the ethereum-based system in 2021.
UNICEF is also partnering with SoftBank Investment Advisers (SBIA) to develop a structure for distributing cryptocurrency. Chris Fabian, co-lead of UNICEF Ventures, said so far the crypto fund is starting slow by funding several startups like Coinsence, a Tunisian token project experimenting with ERC-20 tokens for community currencies.
Over the next two years, Fabian said UNICEF’s goal is to help schools without internet connections get online by supporting local tech ventures, some of which may choose to run their own cryptocurrency nodes and earn revenue from providing connectivity to people and businesses in the surrounding neighborhoods.
In addition to the global school initiative, called GIGA, Chabrak said he hopes community currencies in Tunisia will be designed to help nonprofits and universities promote the United Nations’ sustainability goals by incentivizing eco-friendly habits.