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UNICEF now takes bitcoin and ether donations

The donations go farther since they aren’t subject to big fees.
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Niyazz via Getty Images

UNICEF, the United Nations' charity that helps underserved children around the world, now accepts donations in bitcoin and ether. As the first UN organization to embrace cryptocurrencies, UNICEF and the recipients of its funding will benefit from the lack of fees that result from money being transferred overseas. Plus, donors will presumably be able to see how their contributions are disbursed to various initiatives.

When UNICEF receives a cryptocurrency donation, it won't cash it out for a national currency. Rather, it will hold onto the bitcoin or ether and send the funds to a charitable cause in that same tender. This method will maintain a transparent chain of custody across the donation process and will ensure that the recipient gets a larger percentage of the original contribution compared to cash.

Of course, cryptocurrencies are infamous for their volatility. To avoid losing value between the time of a donation and a disbursement, UNICEF will only leverage bitcoin and ether for short-term programs such as purchasing mosquito nets to prevent ebola or sending food and water to areas struck by famine.

The Ethereum Foundation will be the first contributor to UNICEF's Cryptocurrency Fund. The donations will help fund three grantees, as well as GIGA, an organization working to connect every school to the internet. UNICEF may have to rely on similar foundations for cryptocurrency donations; individuals who are fascinated by bitcoin and the like don't frequently part with their hard-earned coins. But hopefully this new donation model will boosts funding for children in need and motivate more charities to accept cryptocurrency.

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