UNICEF Ventures is Actively Exploring Ethereum-Based Smart Contracts

UNICEF Ventures, the venture unit of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has launched an initiative to pilot new ways of sending transactions, including the use of smart contracts, as of early August 2017.

The latest trial is part of the agency’s plan to use Blockchain technology in different use cases.

Smart contracts are self-executing pieces of code operating on top of a Blockchain. The trial will focus on the use of multi-signature contracts.

In a UNICEF Ventures blog post, software developer Qusai Jouda said that the project aims to improve how transacting parties transfer assets across the Internet.

“One way to re-shape online transactions is in lowering the ‘cost of trust’; in effect, improving how parties transfer assets across the Internet. For UNICEF Ventures – where we assess and prototype emerging technology that can provide a portfolio of solutions to our organization as early-stage tech matures – this means testing ethereum-based smart contracts as a tool for improved efficiency, transparency and accountability.”

The agency also announced the Ethereum address that is being used for the trial runs.

The organization has been studying if and how Blockchain technology can help in its mission to uplift the lives of children around the world in previous years. The agency’s research and development (R&D) efforts form part of a wider plan within the United Nations (UN) to use the technology in different use cases.

In late 2016, UNICEF has invested around $100,000 in South African Blockchain startup company, 9Needs. The company is utilizing Blockchain technology to create identity tools for early childhood education.

In its comment to the project then, Chris Fabian of UNICEF’s Office of Innovation Ventures stated that 9Needs was chosen due to its profitability, as well as social development potentials.