The Ethereum Foundation followed up on its 2019 gift to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) this week with a second cryptocurrency donation.
UNICEF crypto portfolio manager Cecilia Chapiro said the fund is now accepting applications from startups in emerging markets to receive investments via this second donation of roughly 1,125 ether (ETH), or $262,000 at press time.
“We are still looking for big donors … also from a technical expertise perspective, we’re always matching our startups with mentors in the space,” said UNICEF blockchain lead Christina Lomazzo. “We’ve not received any more bitcoin, beyond what we got from the Ethereum Foundation [in 2019].”
There’s no set number, but Chapiro expects to find five to 10 attractive startups for equity-free investments worth $100,000 each. The fund is in talks with other prospective donors, but so far none that could be named for this article.
“When we are going through a global crisis we decided to make a new round of investments to help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis,” Chapiro said. “It’s the first time we’re doing a call for applications where we’re doing funding in both USD and crypto.”
According to a press statement, the fund is especially keen to invest in projects that “enable decentralized deal-making, for example through decentralized marketplaces” that “enable people to use, earn, and hold cryptocurrencies,” or “collect, aggregate and validate datasets for blockchain oracles.”
So far, UNICEF has invested crypto in nine startups in nations including Mexico, India, Turkey, Bangladesh and Cambodia. Many of the projects from this first round, which may receive a second investment, focused on communication networks.
For example, the 10-person startup StaTwig in India, founded in 2016, received a government contract to develop a blockchain-based app for tracking rice deliveries in low-income areas.
“We’re creating the supply ...