UNICEF will provide $50-90,000 in the form of equity-free
investments in early stage (seed) finance to for-profit technology start-ups
that have the potential to benefit humanity.
The Fund is looking for start-ups registered in one of
countries with a working, open source prototype (or if they willing to make
it open-source). The solutions should be scalable and globally applicable.
Software solutions could be related to smart contracts, data
analysis, crypto-tokens or crypto-currency mining. The Call goes on to provide
a non-comprehensive list of potential applications the Fund would be interested
For instance, the startups could explore the use of smart
contracts to replicate and improve on existing organisational mechanisms;
enhance efficiencies, transparencies, and accountabilities in contractual
engagements (i.e. multi-signatory contracts that guarantee certain actors were
involved); boost transparency in distribution of resources by better tracking
of movement of money; or support interactions across groups (what would a SWIFT
code for development look like, if described in Solidity)
The UNICEF Innovation Fund is also interested in using
machine learning to understand the activities on public blockchains; using crypto-flows
to help organisations and governments do and understand their transactions more
efficiently; or using blockchain data to solve humanitarian challenges, for example,
using bitcoin data (bitcoin is used for illegal transactions on the dark web
because of the anonymity afforded by it) to fight human trafficking.
Crypto tokens could be used to incentivise or support
behaviour that benefits humanity or various tokens could be connected to each
other. In addition, non-fungible tokens (non-fungible tokens are supposed to
represent a real word asset that is unique and non-divisible unlike cash or
other currencies) could be used for social good.
Another example given is the use of passive distributed
mining networks to create investment funding opportunities for the UNICEF
Funding opportunities are not limited to the above-mentioned examples
of software solutions.
 The UNICEF
Innovation Fund is a pooled funding vehicle to quickly assess, fund and grow
open-source solutions that have been developed in new and emerging markets. It invests
in solutions that can impact the lives of the most vulnerable children. The Fund
finds that these solutions are clustered around $100 billion industries in frontier
technology spaces, such as: blockchain, UAVs, virtual and augmented reality, 3D
printing, machine learning, quantum computing, genetic engineering, Internet of
Things, artificial intelligence, nano-satellites and human dynamics.
 Open or public,
permissionless blockchains are blockchains in which anyone can participate in
principle. Anyone can connect to the protocol and either transact over the
blockchain or view the transactions taking place on the blockchain. The network
usually will have an incentivising mechanism to encourage more participants to
join the network. An example would be the bitcoin network. In contrast, only
parties who have been granted access (‘permission’) may participate in
transacting, mining, or viewing transactions in private, permissioned blockchains.
Permission could be granted by existing participants; or by a regulatory authority
or a consortium. Hyperledger Fabric and Ripple
are examples. Both types are decentralised peer-to-peer networks, where each
participant maintains a replica of a shared append-only ledger of digitally