Decentralizing Aid: UNICEF's Game-Changing DAO Adventure In Crypto World

Zinger Key Points
  • In a bold new approach, UNICEF explores the DAO concept.
  • UNICEF says it conducts due diligence of donors to ensure transparency and compliance.

UNICEF, the United Nations' children's relief and humanitarian aid organization, is exploring the development of a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) concept.

"We are in the process of creating a DAO prototype to ensure equitable distribution of power and communication in the realm of globally distributed digital public goods," The Block reported Arun Maharajan, UNICEF's blockchain lead, as saying during a recent interview at Paris Blockchain Week.

Digital public goods (DPGs) consist of open-source software, models, and standards that countries can utilize to develop digital infrastructure as an alternative to private, proprietary solutions.

Built on the Layer 2 solution Polygon MATIC/USD, the pilot project aims to facilitate communication between DPG stakeholders when deliberating potential new features.

Maharajan explained, “In essence, we are creating a specialized DAO for each DPG to bring all stakeholders together.”

He added the community surrounding a DPG could collectively decide its future direction.

UNICEF has also experimented with the open-source voting tool Snapshot for potential governance proposals, a method similar to that used by conventional decentralized organizations.

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The ultimate objective is for these projects to utilize the DAO to finance new features approved by the community.

The DAO concept is part of UNICEF's broader initiative in the cryptocurrency space, which established the UNICEF CryptoFund for Bitcoin BTC/USD and Ethereum ETH/USD donations in October 2019.

The CryptoFund supports startups that offer innovative technologies for children as part of a larger venture program. It specifically aims to help these startups become DPG-certified through the Digital Public Goods Alliance.

Four donors have contributed thus far, including ETC Labs, Animoca Brands and Huobi Charity.

Sanna Bedi, who manages the UNICEF CryptoFund, noted that it follows the same due diligence process for cryptocurrency donations as for private donors, meaning anonymous donations are not permitted.

The organization has invested in 41 cryptocurrency startups in registered UNICEF program countries.

One such startup is Rumsan, a Nepalese blockchain-based cash and voucher assistance platform.

Rumsan connects aid organizations with distribution entities, allowing for easy tracing of aid via blockchain technology, Maharajan explained.

Despite the challenges of managing a cryptocurrency fund, Bedi characterized UNICEF as "flexible" and "willing to learn" about blockchain technologies.

Bedi emphasized the importance of sharing the organization's experiences and maintaining transparency, acknowledging it has encountered obstacles along the way.

Bedi revealed the organization is cautious when it comes to embracing new technology and UNICEF's custody arrangement was not affected by recent crypto banking crises.

While Bedi expressed interest in potentially accepting USDC donations, she noted such a decision would depend on market considerations.

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Posted In: CryptocurrencyNewsMarketsBlockchainDAODecentralized autonomous organizationdigital public goodsopen-source softwareUNICEFUNICEF CryptoFund
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