The United Nations International Children’s (UNICEF) has created a fund for blockchain startups. The target is groups to deal with humanitarian challenges caused by Covid-19. The equity-free investments will be in cryptocurrency or USD. It will provide seed financing and mentoring for technology startups with the potential to benefit humanity.
As per the press release, applicants will have the opportunity to get a portion of funding on Ether or Bitcoin via the recently launched CryptoFund. The current global climate and spectacular shift do contactless payments systems as a result of Covid-19. This is a ripe field for open-source solutions that meet critical needs for society.
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UNICEF has, for the last four years, invested in startups that apply open-source technology. UNICEF’s objective is to create a better world. It appears like it’s looking to step up its game even further now. UNICEF Ventures investment advisor Cecilia Chapiro said the UN body launched the fund in 2016. The fund intended to support emerging technologies from developing countries. Chapiro added that since then, UNICEF had helped over 50 startups in 35 countries. She said:
“We invest in technologies that have the potential to influence billions of people, especially children in emerging countries.”
UNICEF has identified blockchain as a leading technology with the potential of making a universal impact. The UN body invested $100,000 of equity-free funding 18 months ago three blockchain oriented startups. In October 2019, UNICEF also launched a crypto fund courtesy of the Ethereum Foundation. UNICEF built the fund on the same framework apart from but investments are made in cryptocurrencies.
“UNICEF’s innovation fund allows companies to partake in a one-year portfolio experience. We provide non-financial benefits that go along with the investment. We look for companies with a prototype that can be reviewed and strengthened to benefit a large number of users. UNICEF supports companies in a number of ways. They help prepare them to speak with additional investors after the one-year program ends.”
The emergence of Covid-19 has disrupted the world in a big way. However, for UNICEF, things have gone on as usual. Finding startups hasn’t been a problem because all its processes are virtual. Chapiro said all their workshops are virtual, and the Covid-19 spikes didn’t impact the crypto fund. She said:
“Many of the other funding programs these startups were a part of were discontinued or limited following COVID-19. This is why we are doing much quicker funding rounds now. We ended up investing in eight companies a few weeks ago, some of which we had previously funded. Now, there is an increasing demand for their services because many of them are solving COVID-19 related challenges.”