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UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund invests 125 ETH in Eight Blockchain Companies

June G. Bauer

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The UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund (CryptoFund) announced that it will invest 125 ETH in the eight companies – from seven countries – to develop prototypes, pilot, or scale their technologies over six months.

All UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund’s chosen startups have previously received up to $100,000 from UNICEF’s Innovation Fund and are now receiving cryptocurrency to continue the development of their open-source and digital public goods.

We are seeing the digital world come at us more quickly than we could have imagined – and UNICEF must be able to use all of the tools of this new world to help children today and tomorrow

says Chris Fabian, Senior Adviser, co-Lead, UNICEF

Chosen Blockchain Startups

Afinidata (Guatemala): Afinidata uses artificial intelligence to provide parents with a personal assistant that guides them with personalized and effortless early-childhood activities, delivered directly into messaging apps they already use to communicate with family and friends and without requiring any new downloads. 

Avyantra (India): Avyantra has successfully moved from the proof of concept stage to a fully accomplished product with support from the UNICEF Innovation fund. Avyantra’s team has developed PreSco, a cloud-based application to facilitate early diagnosis of neonatal sepsis through machine learning methods.

Cireha (Argentina): Cireha created an app called “Cboard,” to help more children with speech impairments communicate through symbols. It’s particularly interested in scaling into countries where these types of tools are virtually nonexistent. Further down the line, it wants to add machine learning and new interfaces to its product.

Ideasis (Turkey): medical system app to treat phobias or social anxiety disorders.

OS City (Mexico): is issuing blockchain-based government assets, heading towards issuing 1,000 blockchain IDs to allocate children’s educational diplomas.

StaTwig (India): Using blockchain technology to to secure food for millions living in poverty.

Somleng (Cambodia): is scaling its low-cost Interactive Voice Response platform by partnering with the Government of Cambodia to send vital information about COVID-19.

Utopic (Chile): A learning game.

UNICEF is currently open to receiving applications from startups using blockchain tech. Program beneficiaries will obtain funding grants for up to US$100,000 (in fiat or cryptocurrency). To learn more or to apply check out the UNICEF Innovation Fund’s call for submissions here.

Pop cultureaholic, Technology expert, Web fanatic and a Social media geek. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email her at [email protected] or contact her on Twitter @JuneTBauer1

Blockchain

Swift Collaborates to Enhance Tokenized Asset Settlement with Blockchain Interoperability

MNabilAli

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Swift, the global provider of secure financial messaging services, is actively exploring blockchain interoperability to address the challenges faced by institutional investors when dealing with tokenized assets. These investments are tracked on various blockchain networks that lack interoperability, resulting in significant overhead and friction. To tackle this issue and promote long-term scalability in the market, Swift is collaborating with major financial institutions and FMIs to test the seamless transfer of tokenized value across different blockchain networks using existing Swift infrastructure. The experiments will be facilitated by Chainlink, a prominent Web3 services platform.

According to Swift’s recent press release, the rise of tokenized assets has attracted institutional investors who seek new value opportunities. However, the lack of interoperability among blockchain networks poses complexities for managing and trading these assets. Swift recognizes the importance of overcoming this fragmentation to enhance market scalability. By leveraging its community and infrastructure, Swift aims to remove friction from tokenized asset settlement and contribute to a seamless and efficient investment ecosystem.

Partnership with Leading Institutions: In collaboration with more than a dozen major financial institutions and FMIs, Swift will conduct a series of experiments to explore the potential of using its existing infrastructure to facilitate the transfer of tokenized value across diverse blockchain networks. Participants in this initiative include Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ), BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, Citi, Clearstream, Euroclear, Lloyds Banking Group, SIX Digital Exchange (SDX), and The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC). Chainlink will provide the necessary connectivity across public and private blockchains for these experiments.

These new experiments build upon successful trials conducted by Swift in 2022. The aim is to not only enhance operational efficiency but also address potential operational and regulatory challenges that financial institutions may encounter in blockchain environments. By streamlining operations and settlement processes, blockchain technology has the potential to attract more investors to private markets, increasing liquidity and reducing costs associated with legacy systems.

While the potential of blockchain technology in generating efficiencies and reducing costs is widely recognized in the capital markets, the lack of interoperability remains a barrier to its widespread adoption. Swift’s exploration of blockchain interoperability highlights its commitment to removing friction in international transactions and fostering the growth of the tokenized asset market. By enabling financial institutions to interact seamlessly with various blockchain networks, Swift aims to enhance trust, security, and convenience in the trading of traditional and tokenized assets alike.

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Unlocking the Potential: Iraq’s Journey Towards Blockchain Legislation

MNabilAli

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Amidst ongoing political and economic instability, Iraq is witnessing a growing interest in harnessing the power of blockchain technology as a catalyst for social change and innovation. As a decentralized and transparent ledger system, blockchain offers promising solutions for a range of applications, including cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, digital identity, and supply chain management.

However, the adoption of blockchain in Iraq faces significant hurdles, both technical and legal. Challenges on the technical front include frequent power outages, limited internet penetration, and inadequate infrastructure, hindering widespread access and usability of blockchain platforms. On the legal side, Iraq lacks a comprehensive regulatory framework for blockchain and cryptocurrencies, leading to uncertainties and risks for users and developers.

According to a recent Deloitte report, Iraq ranks among the countries with the lowest level of blockchain readiness in the Middle East, primarily due to weak institutions, limited innovation capacity, and high political risk. The report emphasizes the need for regulators, including central banks, to embrace cryptocurrencies and work towards developing a suitable regulatory environment that minimizes risks while maximizing opportunities.

With a GDP per capita of $4,452 in 2020, placing it 133rd among 190 countries, Iraq also struggles with financial inclusion, as only 23% of adults hold accounts with financial institutions or mobile money service providers. Blockchain adoption and regulation in the country are still in their early stages.

At present, Iraq lacks specific legislation or authority governing the use of blockchain or cryptocurrencies. The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) has not provided official guidance on their legal status or treatment, merely cautioning the public about associated risks such as volatility, fraud, money laundering, and terrorism financing.

Nonetheless, efforts are underway to promote blockchain awareness and education in Iraq. The Iraqi Blockchain Society, for instance, organizes events, workshops, and hackathons to introduce blockchain concepts and use cases to the public. Some notable blockchain projects have also emerged, including ZainCash, a mobile wallet utilizing blockchain technology for secure money transfers, and Taqanu, a digital identity platform aimed at providing banking services to refugees and displaced individuals.

However, these initiatives encounter various obstacles, such as censorship, hacking, and violence. During the protests in 2019 and 2020, activists turned to blockchain platforms like Ethereum and Steemit to document human rights violations, only to face cyberattacks allegedly orchestrated by pro-government forces with external support.

The potential of blockchain to improve Iraq’s social and economic conditions is evident, but it requires a supportive and enabling environment to flourish. This necessitates collaboration and dialogue among the government, civil society, private sector, and international partners to develop a legal framework that recognizes and regulates blockchain technology transparently and fairly. Investments in infrastructure, education, and security are also crucial to ensure accessible, reliable, and secure blockchain platforms for all users.

Iraq must prioritize the development of clear and comprehensive legislation on blockchain to address challenges and risks while promoting the growth and adoption of this transformative technology. Such legislation should define the legal status of blockchain and digital assets, establish rights and obligations of users and regulators, provide guidelines for security, privacy, and compliance, and create incentives and support mechanisms for innovation and education.

By embracing blockchain and enacting appropriate legislation, Iraq has the potential to harness the transformative power of this technology, enhancing its economic, social, and political landscape and positioning itself as a regional leader in the blockchain revolution.

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Blockchain’s Decentralized Trust: Unleashing Potential and Overcoming Challenges in 2023

Lorna Udinese

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As we enter 2023, blockchain continues to be hailed as a system of decentralized trust, revolutionizing various industries with its secure and transparent digital ledgers. This technology, known for its ability to track and verify transactions without relying on a central authority, has gained widespread adoption across sectors such as finance, healthcare, and supply chain management. However, while blockchain’s decentralized nature offers immense potential, it also faces challenges and limitations that need to be addressed for its full potential to be realized.

Decentralization: The Essence of Blockchain

Decentralization lies at the core of blockchain technology. Unlike traditional systems controlled by a single entity, blockchain operates through a network of nodes working collaboratively to verify transactions and maintain ledger integrity. This distributed approach makes manipulation and corruption difficult, as any changes to the ledger require consensus from the network.

Challenges to Blockchain Adoption

While blockchain’s decentralized trust has propelled its popularity, several hurdles must be overcome for wider adoption:

  1. Scalability: Scalability remains a pressing challenge. Most blockchain systems struggle to handle large transaction volumes quickly, resulting in slower speeds and higher fees. Enhancing scalability is crucial to making blockchain more appealing to users and enterprises alike.
  2. Regulation: Blockchain’s regulatory landscape is still evolving, with different countries taking varied approaches. Uncertainty and inconsistency in regulation can impede businesses’ adoption of blockchain technology, necessitating clearer guidelines to foster innovation.
  3. Interoperability: Lack of standardization and interoperability between different blockchain networks poses obstacles to adoption. Seamless asset transfer between diverse networks is essential for realizing the technology’s full potential.
  4. Security: Although blockchain is designed to be secure, there have been instances of security breaches and hacks. Addressing concerns regarding fraudulent activities and reinforcing security measures is vital for maintaining trust in blockchain technology.
  5. Education and Awareness: Widespread understanding of blockchain technology remains limited among business leaders and policymakers. Bridging the knowledge gap through education and awareness initiatives is key to unlocking blockchain’s potential across industries.

Blockchain Technology Statistics in 2023

In the ever-evolving blockchain landscape, several statistics reflect the growth and impact of the technology:

  • The blockchain industry is projected to be worth $163.83 billion by 2029, with a compound annual growth rate of 56.3%.
  • Over 170 million blockchain wallets exist worldwide, encompassing users from platforms such as Blockchain.com and Coinbase.
  • Global spending on blockchain solutions is expected to reach $19 billion by 2024.
  • Blockchain.com alone has over 85 million wallet users as of March 2023, indicating the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies.
  • Approximately 336,600 Bitcoin transactions occur daily, showcasing the increasing utilization of digital currencies.
  • 10% of the global population owns cryptocurrencies, while 16% of Americans have invested in them.
  • Blockchain implementation in the healthcare sector is projected to reach $231.0 million by 2023, with a growth rate of 63% over the next six years.
  • Shifting securities to blockchains could potentially save $17 billion to $24 billion annually in global trading processing fees.
  • The worldwide blockchain technology industry is estimated to grow at an 85.9% CAGR from 2022 to 2030.
  • By 2026, the global blockchain market is anticipated to reach a value of $67.4 billion, signifying its increasing significance.
  • Banking stands as the sector with the highest distribution of blockchain market value, reflecting its potential to transform financial services.

Conclusion

As blockchain continues to evolve in 2023, its decentralized trust system remains a key driver of innovation across industries. However, challenges such as scalability, regulation, interoperability, security

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