UNICEF looks to fund blockchain start-ups

UNICEF - Innovation Fund - Blockchain

UNICEF (United Nations Childrens Fund) has announced that it will be offering equity-free investments to blockchain start-ups as part of its Innovation Fund.

Early stage finance of between $50 – $90 will be made available to those companies that have the “potential to benefit humanity”. To register, companies must be located in UNICEF’s list of programme countries and have a working, open-source prototype that fits the organisations specifications.

The deadline for applications is 28 February 2018. Applications can be made here.

The UNICEF Innovation Fund is not just about handing out money to companies with promising solutions. It also provides technical assistance, help developing a business model and strategy and, as the world’s most well-known organisation it can provide huge coverage.

What is UNICEF looking for?

The organisation has provided a brief outline of the areas that it is interested in, although it is keen to stress that it will consider applications that fall outside these areas.

Smart contracts

Smart contracts can be used to replicate and improve existing organisational mechanisms, but they can also bring massive gains in transparency and accountability. Another potential use for smart contracts is increasing the efficiency of interactions between groups.

Data analysis

UNICEF wants to know if machine learning can be utilised to better understand the activities and data on public blockchains. Can crypto-flows be used to increase organisations and governments understanding of their transactions?


Can the use of crypto tokens help incentivise certain kinds of behaviour that would be beneficial to humanitarian projects? Are there mechanisms available to connect disparate tokens together?

The organisation emphasises that it is not limiting itself to the above categories:

“We are interested in companies that use distributed ledger tech in new, groundbreaking, ways that are scalable, and globally applicable. If you are aligned with our general criteria, we want to hear from you.”


Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more at the Blockchain Expo World Series, Global, Europe and North America.


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