Huobi Group, a leading blockchain firm, recently announced that its “philanthropic” division Huobi Charity Limited (regulated by the Charity Commissioners of Gibraltar – registration no. 324) is committing $1 million in Bitcoin (BTC) and fiat currency to UNICEF.
The funds will be distributed to the UNICEF CryptoFund, which serves as a financial vehicle enabling UNICEF to receive, hold, and disburse digital currency, and UNICEF’s Innovation Fund, a pooled fund for financing early stage, open-source tech that may benefit children.
The Innovation Fund has so far managed to receive contributions of $34.9M USD, 2267 ETH, and 8 BTC, the Huobi team confirmed in their blog post while adding that the donation “marks the first extensive institutional BTC donation accepted by UNICEF.”
The blog post further noted that as cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin see record levels of adoption globally, major institutions and organizations like UNICEF are “implementing blockchain and cryptocurrency, as well as other forms of emerging technology, into their initiatives to expand services and opportunities for people around the world.”
The release added that UNICEF’s CryptoFund and Innovation Fund are offering fiat and cryptocurrency investments “to early-stage startups to help accelerate technological innovation to benefit children around the world.”
Introduced in 2016, UNICEF’s Innovation Fund is reportedly “the first financial vehicle of its kind in the United Nations investing in early-stage, open-source, emerging technology with the potential to impact children on a global scale.” As noted in the update from Huobi, its core or primary motivation is to identify “clusters” or portfolios of initiatives “around emerging technologies so that UNICEF can both shape markets and also learn about and guide these technologies to benefit children.”
The update also mentioned that the Fund invests in solutions “clustered around $100 billion industries in technology spaces such as blockchain, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.”
As explained in the release, UNICEF’s CryptoFund is “a new financial vehicle allowing UNICEF to receive, hold, and disburse cryptocurrency — a first for the UN.” The CryptoFund “aspires to create visibility for donors and the public, adding a layer of transparent accounting to the donation process, all visible on the CryptoFund website (https://cryptofund.unicef.io/).”
The update also mentioned that by distributing funding in virtual currency, UNICEF, donors, recipients, and the public are able to keep track of where the assets are going and “how they are being spent, providing an unprecedented level of transparency in the funding and NGO space.” The CryptoFund “allows UNICEF to explore what it means to operate in a digitally financed future,” the update noted.
Thomas Davin, Director, Office of Innovation at UNICEF, noted that Huobi Charity shares in UNICEF’s vision to “match today’s challenges with tomorrow’s solutions, including through the advancement of open source, decentralized technology that can benefit children and young people.”
Davin added that together, Huobi Charity and UNICEF plan to “shape the impact that crypto can have on driving and accelerating results for children.”
Leon LI, Founder and CEO of Huobi Group, remarked:
“We are ecstatic about making this donation to UNICEF as we explore the integration of blockchain technologies into other industries. Our focus is on the future, so we recognize the significance of UNICEF’s work and the importance of supporting and facilitating the growth and development of children around the world.”
As part of the $1 million commitment, Huobi has reportedly donated seven BTC to the UNICEF CryptoFund, which was valued at around $350,000 when the donation was made. The remainder will be “distributed to UNICEF’s Innovation Fund over the next three years to support early-stage, open-source projects and UNICEF’s ongoing explorations toward a digitally financed future,” the release noted.
As mentioned in the announcement:
“Huobi Charity aims to leverage blockchain technology and digital assets to help create a fair and equitable future, tackling societal issues like poverty, education, healthcare, culture, and more. As a formally recognized and registered charity, Huobi Charity operates in full transparency and to the registered Charity standards.”