NGOs and the use of blockchain
NGOs are always looking for ways to improve their operations and better serve the communities they work with. Leveraging new technologies like blockchain can not only put NGOs ahead of the curve and continue to innovate in their field but also bring transparency and more efficiency. NGOs can use blockchain to demonstrate accountability and show where their resources are going or can provide a high level of security for data and transactions, which is particularly important for NGOs working in conflict zones or other challenging environments.
During ETH Porto, we were able to understand a bit more about how UNICEF is using blockchain technology.
UNICEF and blockchain
For an inclusive & digitally financed future 🤝— ETHPorto (@eth_porto) March 10, 2023
Arun Maharajan from @UNICEFinnovate will join ETHPorto to talk about The UNICEF CryptoFund, and how the initiative are been changing the future of many people for better.
🗓️ Full conference schedule at https://t.co/X2XVwsZ9ya pic.twitter.com/71Kp38Hvkd
UNICEF believes that blockchain technology has the potential to improve transparency, accountability and efficiency in its programs, and to help ensure that funds and resources reach to people who need them most. During his talk, Arun Maharajan shared a couple of initiatives like UNICEF CryptoFund and some of the pilots they are doing in this area.
The CryptoFund initiative is a pilot project that allows UNICEF to receive, hold, and distribute donations in the form of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. The main goals of this initiative are to increase efficiency and transparency, unlock new programme opportunities, access untapped resources and understand their digital future. By accepting cryptocurrency donations, UNICEF can reach new donors and engage with tech-savvy supporters interested in the potential of blockchain technology. All transactions of the CryptoFund can be checked here.
Some of the results to date shared on ETH Porto were:
- $ 2,131,110: total value of crypto at the time of receipt from donors
- $3,664,000: total value of crypto disbursed at the time of transfers
- 2419 ETH + 4.8 BTC: crypto disbursed
The CryptoFund also makes investments in companies that are developing innovative solutions for challenges faced by children and young people in developing countries. There are at least two main conditions for this investment: the solutions developed need to be open source and the projects must use the cryptocurrency in its native form. So far, CrytpoFund supported 41 projects, here are some examples:
- Using drones and AI to support the sustainability of the amazonian ecosystem
- Application for accessible, adaptive learning based on West-African curricula
- Transparent digital cash and voucher transfer to beneficiaries through blockchain
- An all-in-one digital platform for healthcare savings, payments, and remittances
- A platform for dengue prediction using climate and health data for epidemic management
UNICEF’s blockchain team aims to incentivise and encourage the creation of open-source digital public goods. Arun Maharajan also shared some of the pilots they are doing:
- Gitcoin Quadratic funding grant for encouraging open source portfolio projects that raised 67.52 eth + 141788 DAI with 15k contributions;
- DAO pilot for incentivising fair participation and financing of digital public goods;
- ERC20 token bounty-based mentorship and NFTs for DPG incentivisation.
The talk ended with UNICEF saying they are looking for more contributions in fiat or crypto and a good question came from the audience - “Why don’t you share your wallet address publicly?”, Arun answered that it’s not possible because they can’t accept money without KYC (Know Your Customer), which adds friction to donations likely excludes many donors that would prefer to remain anonymous
This is a great example of what still needs to be done in either cultural and perhaps legal terms to accelerate the adoption of new technologies and business models.
On a final note, we were nicely surprised to see a large global NGO embracing blockchain innovation to bring more transparency and efficiency to their work. This is closely aligned with our mission as a company that is to help organizations create new business models, transform the way they operate and increase efficiency through the application of Blockchain.