WATCH: UNICEF's Crypto Fund Plans to Pay for Internet in Public Schools

UNICEF and the ethereum community are teaming up to help wire up needy schools.

Oct 21, 2019 at 10:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:36 a.m. UTC

Plans are in place to allow non-profit UNICEF to use cryptocurrencies donated by the Ethereum Foundation and other organizations to fund internet connectivity in public schools around the world.

Announced at ethereum developer conference Devcon, UNICEF unveiled a cryptocurrency fund to receive, hold, and distribute bitcoin and ether donations .

Making the first contributions to UNICEF’s Crypto Fund, the Ethereum Foundation donated 1 BTC and 100 ETH, collectively worth roughly $25,000 USD.

According to UNICEF blockchain lead Christina Lomazzo and head of UNICEF Ventures, Chris Fabian, the funds will initially go towards providing and improving internet access in public schools around the world as part of an ongoing initiative called Project Connect.

“Paying for school connectivity, seeing a light go on for a school [on the Project Connect map] and being able to record that on a ledger … this gives you a full cycle [of accountability],” said Fabian, adding:

“I don’t know many other things that can show the power of a truly distributed financial system in that way.”

Already the governments of Sierra Leone, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kenya have shown interest in Project Connect and its blockchain-based system for internet connectivity payments.

Digital payments, according to Fabian, are the way of the future for UNICEF and its parent organization, the United Nations.

“We spent the last two years building up this capacity [of setting up a crypto fund],” said Fabian. “We’re sharing that capacity with other [UN] organizations so they don’t have to the same legal and finance work we did.”

Stressing the need for social-impact orgs to adapt to current technologies, Fabian added:

“We need to build up the muscles that will allow us to be ready for the future.”

Christina Lomazzo and Chris Fabian via YouTube

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