The United Nations Children’s Education Fund started accepting donations in nine cryptocurrencies- Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Monero, EOS, and Stellar.
“From now on, future crypto donors can go to the UNICEF France website and make a donation with one of the 9 accepted crypto-currencies,” the UNICEF website read as on 18th September 2018.
The Executive Director at UNICEF France, Sebastien Lyon mentioned on the organization’s statement: “[translated] Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology used for charitable purposes offer a new opportunity to appeal to the generosity of the public and continue to develop our operations with children in the countries of intervention.”
Lyon also stated that cryptocurrencies and its underlying technology- blockchain will contribute an innovative way to increase funds for humanitarian activities, but not many organizations are in favor of harnessing this technology.
This decision to accept cryptocurrencies for donations by UNICEF France is the result of the successful campaign called “Game Chaingers”, in February 2018. This campaign was intended to get online video game players involved in an attempt to help children suffering in Syria. The organization under this campaign began a fundraising effort to help children in Syria, which has been entangled in a violent civil war since 2011.
In order to join in the charitable initiative, users had to download a cryptocurrency mining app from UNICEF’s official website. A total of 85 ETH ($20,609 value as of now) was established by the time the campaign ended in March.
The organization said about the campaign, “Game Caingers is a fundraiser of a new kind, the first made by the blockchain of a cryptocurrency, Ethereum… The project is a platform that aggregates the computing power of all the graphics cards of gamers in the world, to “mine” and generates Ethereum for the benefit of UNICEF. A small revolution in itself thanks to the work of their graphics cards, donors no longer need to give a single euro to support the action of UNICEF.”
UNICEF Australia in the month of May started its own cryptocurrency fundraising effort by starting a website called “The Hopepage”.
“We wanted to leverage new emerging technologies to raise awareness about current humanitarian crises and raise funds to support children caught up in them,” said Jennifer Tierney, UNICEF Australia director of fundraising and communications, reported by Mashable.
People who visit the website can provide their computing resources to mine cryptocurrencies. The digital currency created from mining is then used to help the citizens of underdeveloped countries.
“The HopePage allows Australians to provide help and hope to vulnerable children by simply opening the page while they are online,” Tierney added.
In February the World Food Programme director Robert Opp mentioned his point of view about blockchain technology, he said that it is still at its “starting point”.
“There are a number of potential uses of blockchain that could dramatically change the way we reach people in terms of our efficiency, effectiveness, and security,” Opp added.
The Guardian had reported in February that UNICEF saw three potential uses for blockchain technology:
Introducing new ways to donate money
Creating greater transparency in internal processes
Potentially addressing issues like payments to partners of frontline workers, such as locally contracted lorry drivers