The United Nations Children’s Fund [W1] (UNICEF,) will provide funds to six startups focusing on blockchain technology. The worldwide organization will make an investment of $100,000 after publishing a “blockchain call” to projects with the potential of representing a benefit to humanity.

Earlier in the year, in January, UNICEF promoted startups in the field of technology to sign up in the initiative. The UN’s children emergencies movement got more than a hundred applications from 50nations around the world, and only six were chosen.

There are 20 other tech companies in UNICEF’s Innovation Fund, ranging from data science and machine learning to virtual reality and drones. The organization states that the most recent investment is motivated by a broader blockchain strategy to achieve more things in a humanitarian level.

“Using smart-contracts for organizational efficiencies, creating distributed decision-making processes, and working to build knowledge and understanding of distributed ledger technology both in the United Nations and in the countries where UNICEF works” are the primary intentions of UNICEF with the most recent project, according to the organization.

The “Chosen Ones”

The six “lucky” startups are Atix Labs, Onesmart, Prescrypto, Statwig, Utopixar, and W3 Engineers. Two of them havetheir primary offices in Mexico. The group of six now has to deliveropen-source prototypes of their platforms within the next year.

Atix Labs plans to develop a funding platform nor small and medium-sized businesses in such a way that users can trace how the money is used at all times. It is based in South America, more specifically in Argentina.

Onesmart, a Mexican project, aims to create an application that makes sure that state-provided social services are delivered,having in mind the potential misuses of social funds in emerging economies.

Another Mexican-based initiative is Prescrypto. As the name suggests, the blockchain startup wants to improve availability of electronic prescriptions thanks to the development of a system or environment for patient medical histories.

Statwig is an Indian project. The concept is a blockchain solution for supplying chain management of vaccines, with the goal of optimizing and improving efficiency of their delivery to the society and the communities in need.

A few miles away, in the country of Bangladesh, we have W3 Engineers, the people that are shooting to connect migrant and refugee communities with an offline mobile networking platform. According to the developers, there is no need to use a SIM card or even a stable internet connection.

Last, but not least, there is Tunisia’sUtopixar. This blockchain-based platform is going to create a social tool for decision-making and transfer of value, and it will be used by both communities and organizations without discriminations.

Chris Fabian, who acts as the Main Adviser at UNICEF Innovation, stated that “blockchain technology is still at an early stage — and there is a great deal of experimentation, failure, and learning ahead of us as we see how, and where, we can use this technology to create a better world.”

UNICEF’s Innovation Fund picks projects that are located in communities in need, in which the blockchain technology can make a significant contribution. If the projects are successful, they could be applied in up to 190 countries, the ones covered by UNICEF’s actions.

By Andres Chavez

 [W1]This is the current name of said organization.


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