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Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Featured

UNICEF Supports Blockchain Startups Offering Solutions to Improve the Society

Blockchain technology has been one of the greatest disruptive forces in the past few years. The current global CAGR has been an astounding 85.9%, with projections suggesting a global market of $1431.54 billion between 2022 and 2030. The foundational technology behind bitcoin may increase global GDP by as much as $1.76 trillion by 2030. The technology has witnessed mainstream adoption in BFSI and supply chain management. Meanwhile, it is quickly gaining prominence in the manufacturing sector. Blockchain has also warranted attention from international organizations like UNICEF, who are both investing and utilizing it for multiple welfare purposes. 

Blockchain and UNICEF: Stories Untold

The United Nations Children’s Fund or UNICEF, works for the protection of children’s rights all over the world. The global organization had previously recommended the incorporation of children’s safeguard initiatives to shield them from the risks of financial exploitation by non-regulated cryptocurrency markets.

A report published by UNICEF titled “Prospects for Children in 2022”, highlights the effect global trends have on children. The further adoption of crypto, something which the organization perceives as inevitable, reflects upon the promise of better financial inclusion and a need for better safety measures for children. 

The global organization believes in the utility of the national and international regulatory blockchain framework, explaining the subsequent need for monitoring to ensure frictionless remittance and more efficient programs for children’s development and social assistance. 

Among the possible threats, the organization points out risks associated with non-regulated markets- market instability, support for illicit activities including child trafficking, money laundering, sexual exploitation, a marketplace for objects depiction child abuse, extortion, defrauding, and more.  Another report suggests that the number of crypto users may cross 1 billion by the next year. All these indicate that the time is ripe for the implementation of cryptocurrencies within online child protection.

Also Read: HashCash Announces Development of Blockchain Prototype against Child Trafficking

UNICEF Innovation Fund: Blockchain Recipients

The UNICEF Innovation Fund was initially launched in 2016 to finance early-stage open-sourced tech projects that can be beneficial for children. The fund also comprises the UNICEF CryptoFund, a pooled collective of BTC and ETH. The public record-sharing of transactions improves visibility between the donor and public, increasing transparency and accountability. 

UNICEF is one of the biggest global advocates of blockchain implementation, presenting equity-free investments in USD or digital assets to 8-nominated startups for developing open-source blockchain solutions that expedite financial inclusion. 5 of the 7 companies are led by women. The latest collective investments also increase the organization’s investment’s across Rwanda and Iran. Other recipients include startups from Argentina, Kenya, India, Mexico, and Nepal.

The 7 recipient startups were selected from 450 submissions across 77 nations. Each recipient will receive an upward of $100,000 in seed funding. Interestingly, 5 of the 7 organizations opted for partial funding in Ether. All the startups are working on blockchain solutions to increase financial inclusion. With over 1.7 billion people remaining “unbanked”- financial inclusion is one of the top priorities of the United Nations.       

Also Read: Crypto and Blockchain ETFs: A Synopsis

Blockchain’s Role in Financial Inclusion

The primary reason behind the widespread blockchain adoption across the BFSI sector has been its ability to bypass intermediaries of conventional payment processing systems and accomplish international settlements at way lesser costs and time. In fact, blockchain has contributed significantly to the proliferation of the fintech sector as well, and UNICEF acknowledges its role in financial inclusion and offering affordable digital services. Organizations are also working towards blockchain-based governance protocols in the decentralized environment(DAOs and DApps).

UNICEF Ventures Lead Sunita Grote states, “As we look into building back better, we need to tap into and support innovators and problem solvers to ensure systems are transparent, efficient, and decentralized — and that they include the traditionally underserved.”

Final Words

UNICEF continues to remain optimistic about the blockchain’s potential to address some of the biggest challenges in the present world scenario from improving children’s lives to facilitating financial inclusion in developing nations. Offering impetus with seed funding, the global organization supports startups around the world willing to venture and explore new-age solutions powered by blockchain.

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