Ethereum Classic Labs partners with UNICEF Innovation Fund, announces $1M to promote startups with blockchain-based social impact solutions
Ethereum Classic Labs, the core development and accelerator organization for the Ethereum Classic blockchain, today announced a $1 million commitment that will launch a key partnership with the UNICEF Innovation Fund. Blockchain start-ups that are working on social impact projects in emerging markets with the support of the UNICEF Innovation Fund will be selected to receive follow-on development funding from ETC Labs. Project teams will also receive ETC Labs training and mentorship that will help to expand the availability and use of impactful blockchain applications that solve social issues.
ETC Labs will directly invest $750k in global startups that have graduated from the UNICEF Innovation Fund. In addition to the cash investment, the cohort of blockchain companies selected from the UNICEF Innovation Fund portfolio will receive support for project creation from the acclaimed developer team at ETC Labs Accelerate. The ETC Labs program provides developer training and mentoring to build products and services for a variety of use cases on Ethereum Classic, one of the world’s major public blockchains.
As part of the partnership, ETC Labs will contribute an additional $250k to the UNICEF Innovation Fund. The ETC Labs investment will help the UNICEF Innovation Fund to promote the creation of digital public goods and the adoption, use, and development of blockchain solutions across the blockchain ecosystem.
“The future of blockchain depends upon use cases that demonstrate true social and economic impact, and the collaboration with UNICEF Innovation Fund helps achieve this goal,” said James Wo, founder, ETC Labs.
“ETC Labs is committed to driving forward and fulfilling the original promise of blockchain to deliver meaningful social impact solutions,” said Terry Culver, ETC Labs CEO. “We’re honored and excited to work with UNICEF; we share a common vision of harnessing blockchain to improve people’s lives in some of the most challenging contexts around the world. This partnership with the UNICEF Innovation Fund will serve as the delivery vehicle to accomplish this goal.”
Three companies have been selected to date for follow-on investment based on the social impact, technology advancement, and capacity of their work to improve the lives of people in emerging markets:
- OS City, a Latin American company that leverages cloud computing, blockchain, and artificial intelligence to create digital government services that help improve efficiency by increasing transparency and accountability in public allocation of resources.
- W3 Engineers, a Bangladesh-based company that provides connectivity solutions using open-source and blockchain technology in emerging markets that lack Internet or cellular network coverage.
- Prescrypto, a healthcare app launched in Mexico and designed to assure portability of sensitive clinical data in a secure and private way, ensuring that health prescription information remains accurate and accessible to necessary healthcare provider stakeholders.
“Blockchain technology gives us opportunities to revisit existing problems – like the transparency and speed of moving value in large systems – and examine at them in new ways. While there is a great deal of hype around the idea of secure, distributed databases, there are also many opportunities for new organizational efficiencies,” says Chris Fabian, co-lead of UNICEF Ventures. “UNICEF has looked at making our contracting with partners more efficient, using blockchain technology in Kazakhstan, and of course is now moving value from donors to companies that we fund in a matter of seconds on these public, transparent ledgers.”
The UNICEF Innovation Fund invests in the exploration and prototyping of frontier technologies like data science, machine learning, drones, and blockchain. An early champion of blockchain technology, since 2016, UNICEF has undertaken large blockchain explorations such as smart contracts for organizational efficiencies, digital scarcity, digital collectibles, tokens, and ways to improve transparency and oversight of the appropriation of funds in the countries where UNICEF works.
UNICEF has funded 39 startups in 23 countries, and will continue to support early stage, open-source projects advancing opportunities for people and communities in the countries and contexts where UNICEF works.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. UNICEF USA supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood.
The mission of ETC Labs is to build relevant, accessible, and high-quality technology, and to use that technology to create communities of value in a mature and regulated ecosystem. The ultimate goal is to fulfill the promise of blockchain to improve people’s lives using Ethereum Classic, one of the world’s major public blockchains. The ETC Labs team of experts also fosters partnerships with organizations and institutions in order to address fundamental challenges in developing and deploying this innovative technology. We fulfill our mission in three ways: ETC Labs Accelerate, which invests in up to 25 blockchain projects annually that contribute to sustaining a robust ecosystem; strategic investments in innovative projects focused on economic and social development; and the ETC Core team of experts and developers who maintain the Ethereum Classic blockchain and build key applications, solutions, and tools.