In recent times, there has been plenty of discussion surrounding the implications of cryptocurrencies. While financial services firms have been unwilling to support them as a medium of exchange, fearing scrutiny from regulators, others have been more welcoming of the idea. There have also been a couple of mass hacking incidents involving cryptocurrency exchanges that certainly haven't done digital currencies any favors in terms of their popularity.
Now, in what may be considered a surprise move, the United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF) has announced that it will be accepting, disbursing, and holding donations in the form of bitcoin and ether. With the setting up of its new Cryptocurrency Fund, UNICEF becomes the first UN organization to make transactions in cryptocurrency.
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, commented on this initiative in the following manner:
"This is a new and exciting venture for UNICEF. If digital economies and currencies have the potential to shape the lives of coming generations, it is important that we explore the opportunities they offer. That’s why the creation of our Cryptocurrency Fund is a significant and welcome step forward in humanitarian and development work."
Through the received donations, the organization will be funding open source technology that aims to benefit children and young people globally. The Ethereum Foundation will be the first one to be contributing to UNICEF through the Cryptocurrency Fund, in the form of donations to three grantees of the UNICEF Innovation Fund. Aya Miyaguchi, Executive Director of the Ethereum Foundation, noted that this move would help showcase Ethereum and blockchain technology's power to benefit communities all over the world.
Notably, UNICEF is one of the co-leaders of the UN Innovation Network. As such, it helps in researching the potential of blockchain and other emerging technologies, as well as problems associated with them. The organization's latest move is another major step in its ongoing work related to blockchain. It will be interesting to see whether the scope of this move expands to other digital currencies in the future, and whether other UN organizations start adopting a similar model as well.