The United Nations children charity, UNICEF, has announced the launch of the UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund. This is a new funding approach that will see the agency accept and disburse donations via Bitcoin and Ether.

UNICEF will hold contributions in the cryptocurrency form they received them and disburse them in the same form. The children’s agency will take cryptocurrency donations through its national committees in New Zealand, the US, Australia, and France. 

Decentralized currencies to enable quick and faster transfer of aid

The Crypto Fund is the latest move by the organization to try digital currencies because of the huge potential they present. Cryptocurrencies will change charitable donations as well as enhance financial transparency. The decentralization of digital currencies means they do not have ties to any central authority or country. It thus provides non-profit organizations such as UNICEF the advantage of circumventing costly fees. Equally, crypto eliminates middlemen that are necessary to facilitate the transaction of large amounts overseas instantly.

According to UNICEF Innovation’s chief advisor Christopher Fabian, the move will prepare the aid agency for the future. It will also help it in maintaining safeguards integrated into the current donor systems. He added that UNICEF was considering this as a way of learning as we move to the next decade. Crypto will make donation tracking easier, and they offer a way of donors seeing how their donations were utilized.

The virtual currencies will fund open-source tech that will be beneficial to children across the globe. The Ethereum Foundation will give the first donation, and the UNICEF Innovation Fund will distribute that donation to three grantees. This includes a project which will offer internet access to learning centers. 

The Ethereum Foundation’s executive director Aya Miyaguchi indicated that they are working with UNICEF to enhance resource and basic needs access. The United Nations is not new to cryptocurrency as already they have embraced crypto in refugee camps in Jordan. They are distributing crypto in the camps as an alternative to food stamps.

Henrietta Fore, the Executive Director of UNICEF, indicated that digital currencies have significant potential for changing the lives of the future generation. Therefore the organization needs to explore the opportunities that cryptocurrencies offer. He added that this was the reason behind the creation of the Cryptocurrency Fund, which is a huge milestone in humanitarian work.

More aid organizations embracing crypto

UNICEF is not the first charity or philanthropy organization to venture into cryptocurrency. Virtual currencies specifically meant for aid such as Pinkcoin and AidCoin are already in place. Other aid agencies such as the United Nations World Food Program and American Red Cross have already been accepting crypto donations.  

However, the adoption of cryptocurrencies in the aid sector has been somehow sluggish. According to Charities Aid Foundation head of policy Rhodri Davies, the use of blockchain tech and cryptocurrencies in the aid sector has been a smaller windfall than expected. He added that it has been slower than was anticipated around three years ago. Rhodri affirms that the success of the virtual currency donation model was restricted to internet-based aids.