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UNICEF Innovation Fund to Invest in Blockchain-Related Projects

The UNICEF Innovation Fund will invest $100,000 in six international firms to develop blockchain-based projects.

The UNICEF Innovation Fund is investing $100,000 in six companies for developing blockchain projects, according to an announcement published Dec. 10.

The UNICEF Innovation Fund was launched specifically to finance early stage and open-source technology that can benefit children. The fund identifies solutions in tech areas like blockchain, machine learning, quantum computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and others.

Today’s announcement reads that the Fund will invest up to $100,000 in Argentinian software development firm Atix Labs, Mexican tech companies Onesmart and Prescrypto, Indian startup Statwig, Tunisian apps development startup Utopixar, and web apps development firm W3 Engineers from Bangladesh.

The companies will separately build prototypes and systems that aim to address global problems like transparency in healthcare delivery, affordable access to mobile communications, as well as the ability to allocate finances and resources in social initiatives.

The newly announced companies will reportedly join 20 other tech startups, which are already under management by the Fund in fields like data science, drones, and virtual reality.

Per the announcement, the investments are part of UNICEF’s larger blockchain initiative for using smart contracts for organizational efficiency, and efforts to learn about and understand distributed ledger technology (DLT).

“Blockchain technology is still at an early stage — and there is a great deal of experimentation, failure, and learning ahead of us as we see how, and where, we can use this technology to create a better world,” said Chris Fabian, Principal Adviser at UNICEF Innovation.

In April, UNICEF Australia announced an initiative that would allow the public to use their computer’s processing power to mine cryptocurrency as a donation to the charity. Tony Andres Tang, the digital brand and content manager of UNICEF Australia, rsaid that they “are transparent in the fact [they] are borrowing a computer’s processing power, and provide the ability to choose how much power is donated.”

In February, UNICEF started a kind of charity drive for Syrian children, by asking PC gamers to use their computers to mine Ethereum (ETH) and donate their earnings. UNICEF said it would use the donated Ethereum to give children access to water, education, and health and hygiene services.

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Crypto Fund Wagers $1 Mln It Will Outperform S&P 500 in ‘Buffett Bet 2.0’

Crypto asset manager Morgan Creek Digital has issued a $1 million bet against the performance of the S&P 500 stock market index.

Crypto-focused institutional asset manager Morgan Creek Digital has issued a $1 million bet against the S&P 500 (SPX) stock market index, a press release shared with Cointelegraph reveals Dec. 6.

The crypto fund has issued a wager that its Digital Asset Index Fund –– a basket of ten major crypto assets –– will outperform the SPX over the next 10 years, starting Jan. 1, 2019.

The S&P 500 is based on market capitalizations of 500 large companies that have common stock listed on major U.S. stock exchanges, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or the Nasdaq Stock Market (NASDAQ).

The challenge from Morgan Creek Digital, dubbed “Buffett Bet 2.0,” evidently echoes a similar bet made by Wall Street’s prominent crypto critic Warren Buffett, who in 2008 bet $1 million that the S&P 500 would outperform a group of hedge funds over a ten year period.

If the bet is taken up, the firm noted the plan would be for the winner to donate the gains to charity, also mimicking Buffett’s move upon winning his S&P bet in 2017.

Anthony Pompliano, co-founder and partner at Morgan Creek Digital, told CNBC that the new challenge could illuminate more than just the performance of crypto markets for many people:

“A lot of people might look at this and just think we’re bullish on crypto — but you need to look at what asset we’re going up against. Public equities aren’t exactly at their all time highs either.”

In order to justify his firm’s bet, the investor has also reportedly pointed to recent losses suffered by FANG –– a group of high-performing tech stocks in the U.S. market, namely Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google. Facebook is currently down 24 percent percent loss year over year, as CNBC reports.

Pompliano made a similar observation about the performance of traditional stocks in a tweet last month, stating that FANG stocks were down 20-40 percent from their all-time highs, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW) had its “worst Thanksgiving week since 2011.”

Buffett himself has come out multiple times to provocatively criticize cryptocurrency, calling it everything from a “mirage” to “rat poison squared.”

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Blockchain for Good: How New Technology Is Helping Those in Need in Novel Ways

There has been a lot of discussion about how cryptocurrencies and blockchain can transform the world’s economy — leaving paper money behind and going truly digital. Indeed, many crypto businesses are pursuing solutions which can eradicate inefficiencies in practically every industry, positively affecting the goods and services we use every day.

But away from the profit margins, is there any way that blockchain can be a force for good? Some not-for-profit organizations — as well as companies and individuals who want to give back to the community — have shown that there’s a promising future in which this technology can address some of the biggest challenges facing the world in the 21st century.

A real game “chainger”

Back in February, the international humanitarian charity UNICEF concocted a novel idea for helping children affected by the Syrian civil war. The premise was simple: enroll PC gamers with sophisticated graphics cards to use their spare capacity for mining Ethereum.

Whenever they were taking a break from the game or heading out, UNICEF’s program could be turned on — enabling them to make donations to war-torn families without losing out financially. It’s fair to say that the project, called Game Chaingers, was a success — over 59 days, with more than 12,000 computers involved, 85 ETH was raised to go toward UNICEF’s work in Syria.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme is using blockchain to tackle hunger in impoverished areas through the “Building Blocks” scheme, with more than 100,000 refugees benefiting so far. Back in April, the Belgian government made a €2 million contribution to the project.

Encouraging voting

Around the world, there can be a lot of mistrust concerning the integrity of elections. Voters are often left disillusioned by results, and over time, this can result in disappointingly low turnouts. In a prime example of blockchain being used for good, several nations are exploring whether this technology could help return confidence to the electoral process.

Ukraine’s Electoral Commission is working with NEM on a pilot voting system, and American troops overseas are being given the chance to use a blockchain-based smartphone app for casting their ballots in the midterm elections — if they are from West Virginia. A Russian polling research center also announced its use of blockchain to monitor exit poll results for the presidential elections earlier this year.

Delivering scientific advancement

There are several companies working to improve patient safety by championing blockchain as an ideal place for storing patient records — eliminating the inaccuracies, inefficiencies and geographical barriers that can arise from paper-based documents. Not only would such solutions enable someone to receive identical treatment based on their medical history even if they were thousands of miles away from home, but their data could also be anonymized and used to make exciting discoveries that pave the way for new treatments and revolutionary drugs.

Blockchain is also helping cutting-edge scientific disciplines, such as genomics. Public South Korean biotech enterprise Macrogen, the country’s leading gene sequencing service provider, announced they were developing a blockchain-based platform together a with local tech firm. The partnership aims to allow the secure and private storage and transfer of large amounts of sensitive genomic and personal information.

Meanwhile, the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, which is home to 60 million people, has started to embrace blockchain, with the view to give their population better access to predictive and personalized treatments. It has signed an agreement with Shivom, a genomics company, which will allow locals to sell their genetic information for research purposes, improving databases that are heavily focused on people of European descent instead of ethnic minorities. Both parties also hope this will advance treatments for cancer and other genetic diseases.

While India says blockchain is promising, government officials say they are “categorically denying” the future use of cryptocurrencies themselves in any manner — including in payment systems.

Giving back

Of course, the act of doing good doesn’t necessarily need to involve creating an entire blockchain platform. Following the rise in the value of cryptocurrency in recent years — especially during 2017 — many of those who invested wisely in this technology decided it was time to give back and started philanthropic projects where they could donate to the causes they were most passionate about.

One such example was the Pineapple Fund, where an anonymous benefactor turned their 5,104 BTC into $55 million with the sole goal of donating it to good causes. More than 60 charities have been supported since. In May 2018, the person behind the fund announced that their work was complete — and as reported by Cointelegraph, projects delivering clean water to sub-Saharan Africa, along with initiatives focused on digital rights prevention, were among those that received help.

Helping the unbanked

Other blockchain startups are attempting to address an issue which is leaving hundreds of millions of people financially disenfranchised. Across certain regions, such as Africa and Southeast Asia, overwhelming numbers of adults are described as unbancarized, meaning they do not have access to bank accounts, credit cards or the other financial services we take for granted.

A major reason why these individuals struggle to benefit from these services is because they lack a credit history. Based in the United States, BanQu allows refugees, the displaced and the world’s poorest individuals to establish an economic identity on the blockchain. When they interact with the organizations, businesses and governments around them, it helps to build a “vetted financial and personal history.” This information is then accepted by financial institutions as legitimate identification information.

Stellar, a payment technology built on the Ripple protocol, was also being put to good use by Oradian, which assists microfinance institutions in developing countries. In an example of remittances being successfully completed over blockchain, fostering financial inclusion, Oradian’s payment network has been built on Stellar’s platform. As of data from 2016, the results show that 300,000 Nigerians — the vast majority of them women — were able to transfer money using blockchain.

At the conference BlockShow Americas 2018, which is being held in Las Vegas on Aug. 20 and 21, 2018, Alex Mashinsky, founder of Celsius Network, and other experts will share their ideas about the usefulness of cryptocurrencies and how they can help the underprivileged. Celsius Network says it is working on a wallet that will help provide financial services to the underbanked.

BlockShow Americas, powered by Cointelegraph, follows the conference in Europe, which took place in Berlin back in May 2018. The event will be a place for dozens of exhibitors to come together — promising to offer new insights into the ways blockchain can be a force for good. BlockShow Americas will also address some of the key questions that affect the blockchain community — governmental initiatives, insights from central banks and the evolution of law and regulations.

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Blockchain in Charity, Explained

Can’t you donate crypto to good causes already?

Yes – but not-for-profit organizations are always exploring new ways of attracting support from the crypto community, and demand is growing.

Charitable giving allows investors to help causes they are passionate about – and if their cryptocurrency assets rise in value, donations can be used in some countries to eliminate the capital gains taxes they would need to pay on the appreciation.

According to a report by Fidelity Charitable, 2017 was a record year for crypto donations. This organization received $69 million in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and claims this was almost 10 times higher than the year before.

Fidelity believes Bitcoin’s dramatic rise in value in 2017 played a factor in this increase. It says being able to accept crypto donations has opened the door to funds, and supporters, who may have been out of research and unable to contribute before.

Meanwhile, an anonymous donor set up the Pineapple Fund, with 5,104 BTC being given to 60 charities. They timed their donation with last year’s “crypto bubble”, meaning $55 million has gone to good causes.

Could crypto be mined for charity?

Several charities have been exploring this concept with some success.

Over 59 days at the start of 2018, UNICEF launched an initiative called Game Chaingers, which aimed to inspire young people to do something good for society.

The children’s charity appealed to people with powerful graphics cards in their PCs, such as gamers, to use their spare computing capacity to mine Ethereum.

More than 12,000 computers were aggregated during the appeal and a total of 85 ETH (roughly $36,000 at today’s rates) was raised. The funds went towards helping children affected or displaced by the Syrian civil war.

For charities, this can be a way of attracting supporters who may not have the make a financial contribution, but still want to help.

However, such schemes aren’t necessarily perfect. Mining can be energy intensive and even harmful to the environment, meaning charities walk a fine line in doing more harm than good. UNICEF stressed that its initiative didn’t result in additional electricity usage, preventing participants from racking up hefty bills.

How would you know donations are being used properly?

Scandals have hit confidence in the charity sector, but blockchain and cryptocurrency could improve accountability and transparency.

Unlike conventional charities, where progress on certain campaigns can be difficult to verify, smart contracts on blockchain can be used to ensure funds are only released to an organization once they can prove their work is having an impact. Failure to meet certain targets could even result in donations being rescinded.

This concept has been put to the test by St Mungo’s, a charity for hopeless people in London. It teamed up with a blockchain platform called Alice to launch a fundraiser which aims to raise $66,000 to help 15 long-term rough sleepers rebuild their lives.

Here, donors can keep track about how rough sleepers are progressing, with the charities progress independently verified by a local authority.

Why do some of us struggle to trust charities?

There have been repeated stories about funds being misused by charities, and other tales of organizations being too aggressive when they are trying to get donations.

Corruption can be a big challenge for aid organizations, and funds which are sent to impoverished countries don’t always reach the intended recipients. Some charities have also been accused of lacking transparency, either by failing to disclose how much money from donations goes towards paying staff or administration, or by refusing to reveal how much money they have in reserve. The pay rewarded to top executives has also angered donors in some cases.

Blockchain allows finances to be publicly audited, ensuring charities remain accountable. Its decentralized nature also eliminates banks, allowing funds to be directly sent to those in need without a middleman.

But this isn’t to say that blockchain can solve all of the charity sector’s ills, or that this technology should be seen as a replacement for charities altogether. The campaign organized by St Mungo’s only enjoyed modest success – helping three rough sleepers – and charities play an important role in highlighting societal issues and campaigning for the public to take action on them.

Can blockchain cut admin costs for charities?

Potentially. Right now, administration and the act of fundraising itself are the two biggest costs for charities.

Through blockchain, charities can cut the transaction fees associated with accepting payments from donors and transferring money to those in need. This helps maximize the impact of the funds they have raised, especially when transactions are taking place internationally.

Instead of creating their own platforms for generating awareness and accepting donations, blockchain organizations have developed APIs which can be customized and adopted by smaller non-profits, helping them to expand their reach and spend less money on developing technical infrastructure.

Who benefits from transparency with charitable payments?

As well as donors getting peace of mind that their money is being put to good use, it could also ensure that charities are not cut off from their funds unnecessarily.

Last year, the UK’s Charity Finance Group revealed that more than 300 charities – many of them legitimate – had their funds cut off after being accused of being involved in illegal money flows.

Oftentimes, this was because they were trying to send help to people in need in nations where terrorism is rife. Their accounts were closed by banks who were afraid of attracting fines for failing to stop terrorism from being financed.

Blockchain paves the way for a clear record of money going in and out of an organization to be recorded on an immutable ledger.

How are for-profit blockchain platforms giving back?

Numerous companies have opened foundations with a goal of giving back to the community, often with an emphasis on educating people about blockchain.

For example, platforms such as have bolstered their social responsibility credentials by attempting to help unbancarized adults in developing economies gain access to bank accounts and other services through blockchain. allows its users to buy and sell dozens of crypto collectibles based on public personalities, known as Cryptons, for a profit. The platform has announced that its smart contract also allows for the issuance of charitable fundraising Cryptons. Here, any proceeds from the sale of a digital collectible are donated to charity until a target is met.

The company behind it, Crypton Labs, hopes this concept would see crypto celebrities rally their followers in order to raise money for good causes.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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Binance and Malta Sign MOU to Create the Blockchain Charity Foundation.

Binance, the world’s largest 24 Hour Volume exchange (with fees), continues to consolidateas a serious and highly reputable business, and the government of Malta is an essential ally in meeting these expectations.

maltaYesterday, the local newspaper Malta Today announced that the Government of Malta and Binance had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would allow the first legal operations of Binance’s new Blockchain Charity Foundation.

The signing of the MOU took place Wednesday at San Anton Palace. The agreement has quite broad objectives, including, according to the media, the following:

  • Advocate about blockchain technology and its application to address issues of sustainability in a humanitarian and environmental setting to empower especially youth and children.
  • ​Improve public awareness of the comprehensive usage of blockchain and its impact on society and economy.
  • Jointly establish a workforce targeting local and regional issues by implementing pilot projects and other initiatives with a blockchain technology component.

It is important to note that this would be an example of inter-institutional collaboration in which a government shares common objectives with an initiative based on the use of cryptocurrency.

Michael Bianchi, a trustee of The President’s Trust, commented on his excitement after the signing of the memorandum, mentioning the impact such an initiative could have in the future:

“We are very happy to be starting a collaboration with Blockchain Charity Foundation enabling the use of blockchain technology to provide a social and economic impact. This is a world first and will have a major impact on how social issues and charity work is done in future years,”

Helen Hai: Head of Binance’s Charity Foundation

Binance has had a positive relationship with the Maltese government. Its decision to move its headquarters to the island, as well as to promote it as one of the most crypto-friendly countries in the world, has allowed Binance to function healthily while Malta is positioned as the country that all crypto startups want to reach.

President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca was invited to chair the Foundation’s Senior Advisory Board. In declarations on the occasion of the agreement, she commented on her confidence that blockchain technologies can help to better develop and control social policies, especially within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals established in the United Nations Agenda 2030:

“I am truly pleased that we have come to the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding with the Blockchain Charity Foundation. This foundation, the first of its kind in the world, will develop humanitarian projects to effectively address the United Nations Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals. Through this agreement, The President’s Trust and the Blockchain Charity Foundation will develop socio-economic projects in Malta, to address social challenges. Moreover, Blockchain technology will be used to increase efficiency, transparency and to measure the social impact of the respective projects,”

Helen Hai on behalf of the Binance team commented:

“I firmly believe that the Foundation and The President’s Trust will jointly embark on an inspirational journey to empower vulnerable communities with the support of blockchain technology. We are determined to turn our vision into action,”


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Binance Taps UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador to Lead Charity Effort

A goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has been named as the head of crypto exchange Binance’s new charity foundation.

Announced today, the move puts Helen Hai – whose work is primarily focused on development in Africa – at the top of the Binance Charity Foundation, the philanthropic arm of one of the world’s largest exchanges by trade volume.

“Helen is a true believer in the Foundation’s mandate: Blockchain for social good. Blockchain can make charity transparent, hence using technology and innovation to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,” the exchange said in a statement.

Hai is said to have led a charity effort on behalf of the foundation last month, which saw the collection of donations for East Africa’s jobs development programs.

The charity group is the latest affiliated organization that Binance has launched in recent weeks. Indeed, the foundation’s creation suggests that the company is putting its reported profits to work – according to Business Insider, Binance expects to bring in as much as $1 billion in profit over the course of 2018.

Binance is also looking to invest in the next wave of cryptocurrency and blockchain startups. It announced a $1 billion “Social Impact Fund” in early June, as CoinDesk previously reported.

“We believe it’s a disruptive social experiment. Binance Labs hopes to work with more aspirational projects to explore blockchain applications and together move forward the growth of the industry,” Ella Zhang, who leads the exchange’s incubator program, said at the time.

Image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Crypto And Charity: Binance Contributes $1 Million To Aid Japanese Flood Victims

Binance, the world’s largest exchange, has committed to an act of philanthropy, with this coming in the form of donating $1 million U.S. to victims of the Japanese floods. The floods have already killed over one hundred civilians so far, with many speculating that there are still over fifty missing.

Shinzo Abe, Japanese PM stated:

We are working against time. There are still many people missing and others in need of help,

According to BBC, western Japan has been seeing record levels of rainfall, with some areas receiving as much rain they would see in months in only a few days. Japanese authorities have ordered over two million people to evacuate the affected area as water begins to run through the streets.

Chengpang Zhao, Binance’s CEO, took to Twitter to express condolences to the victims, he wrote:

Our hearts go out to the victims in West Japan. @binance will begin with a $1,000,000 USD equivalent donation in either BNB, BTC, or JPY.  We also ask our crypto partners to join us and help our friends in need.

CZ, as he is called by the crypto community, also encouraged others to make a donation to the cause, in the form of sending ETH or ERC-20 tokens to a specific address.

Binance’s CEO also noted that projects looking for a Binance listing may receive “bonus points” for future listing requests. Additionally, CZ went out to say that exchange might even count donations towards the reportedly exorbitant listing fee.

It is currently unclear what the exact logistic scheme of the donation plan will entail, but it was made clear that the Binance team is working on a viable way to deliver the funds in collaboration with “local authorities.”

Some found it odd that Binance only offered an Ethereum address for donations, but others thought that it only made sense, as a number of projects on Binance are Ethereum-based.

As of the time of press, the wallet given is filled with over 190 Ether, valued at over $95,000, along with over $1.04 million in a variety of ERC-20 tokens. With these donations, Binance has already surpassed its goal of $1 million, but many hope for the continued success of the charity campaign.

Crypto and Charity: Is It A Growing Theme?

Despite the tribalism and individuality of many cryptocurrency investors, influencers and projects, the charity space around this industry has grown tremendously

Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, stated in a Medium blog post:

Cryptocurrency has produced a handful of billionaires already, and I suspect it may produce the world’s first trillionaires in the next decade. The Forbes list of wealthiest people is going to be shaken up by early digital currency holders.

It would only make sense for influential cryptocurrency players to start making an impact on the philanthropy space. In a recent announcement, Armstrong mentioned that he will be starting the ‘GiveCrypto‘ charity, aimed at supporting the impoverished through cryptos.

The CEO noted that the power of using a crypto-backed charity fund lies in the substantial growth potential, increase in adoption rates and most importantly, the appeal of a technological world. The fund has already garnered over $5 million from a variety of high profile cryptocurrency players, including the CEO of Ripple, ZCash, and BitMEX.

In other news, the Pineapple Fund, started by a Bitcoin early adopter, recently cleaned out its fund pool, donating over 5104 Bitcoin to over sixty of honorable causes.

The anonymous founder of the Pineapple Fund wrote:

Pineapple Fund was an experiment in philanthropy with cryptocurrency wealth. What happens when your ‘play-money’ becomes a treasure chest, and you’re past the satiety point of money?

Many believe that the generosity that has been seen in the cryptocurrency space with continue, with charities like GiveCrypto, The Pineapple Fund, and the most recent Binance donation showing the willingness of the community to give and a lot at that.


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Media: BitMEX Crypto Exchange Co-Founder Becomes Britain's ‘Youngest’ Bitcoin Billionaire

Co-founder of BitMEX crypto exchange and an Oxford graduate Ben Delo has become Britain’s youngest self-made billionaire, Daily Mail reports July 2.

Aged 34, Delo, who founded BitMEX in 2014, told Daily Mail that he used to spend 18 hours a day to build his platform. His work has apparently paid off, as BitMEX is currently one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world with a daily trade volume of around $2 billion, according to data from Coinmarketcap.

“I have had my nose down in a start-up for the past four years. I was doing 18-hour days at one point.”

Delo graduated Worcester College, Oxford in 2005 with a first-class degree, majoring in mathematics and computer science. Having experience as Software Engineer at IBM, and assistant Vice President at JP Morgan, the youngest UK’s Bitcoin (BTC) billionaire is now based in Hong Kong, according to Daily Mail.

Delo told that he mimics the frugal lifestyles of the U.S. billionaire investor Warren Buffett and entrepreneur Bill Gates, claiming that he prefers to give away his money to various charities.

In January, a representative of BitInfoCharts claimed the company estimated that there were no fewer than 35 Bitcoin billionaires worldwide, and possibly as many as 200.

In December, Winklevoss twins made the headlines by becoming the first “official” Bitcoin billionaires, reportedly holding about 91,666 bitcoins,worth about $1.063 billion at the time.

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Basketball Team Sacramento Kings Mine Ethereum to Fund Tech Education Scholarships

The Sacramento Kings basketball team has teamed up with a crypto mining hardware firm to install mining machines in an indoor arena, with the crypto earnings funding a scholarship program, local news outlet The Sacramento Bee reported yesterday, June 28.

The Kings have partnered with company MiningStore for the installation of Ethereum (ETH)

mining machines in Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center. All crypto proceeds will go to multi-year scholarship program MiningForGood, which the Sacramento Bee describes as a charity for tech education and workforce development in Sacramento. The first recipient of funding from the Kings will reportedly be an initiative for black communities in Sacramento called “Build. Black. Coalition.”

Vivek Ranadive, the Kings’ principal owner, said that the mining scholarship program aims to “inspire the next generation of tinkerers [sic] and thinkers to create change in their own community and around the globe,” Ranadive calls the team’s crypto-mining plans “innovative,” stating:

“Opportunity begins when technology allows the world to find innovative solutions to complex problems.”

Mining Ethereum for charitable causes has already been tried out around the world. In February, UNICEF Australia asked PC gamers to mine ETH  in their downtime as a donation to Syrian children, and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin donated $2.4 million in ETH to fund anti-aging research.

The Sacramento Bee notes that the Kings began accepting Bitcoin (BTC) for their team store in 2014 after partnering with BitPay.

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Coinbase CEO Launches Charitable Initiative to Help People in Emerging Markets

CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Brian Armstrong has announced the launch of a charitable initiative to “financially empower people by distributing cryptocurrency globally,” according to a blog post published June 27.

The non-profit initiative intends to raise funds from crypto owners and distribute small amounts to people who live in emerging markets, more specifically to those going through financial crisis. According to the announcement, the initiative aims to “help people in need by sending money to them directly,” “advance real-world usage and benefits of cryptocurrency,” and “provide universal access to an open financial system.” Armstrong wrote in the blog post:

“We’ll start with direct-cash transfers in the form of cryptocurrency. An increasing body of evidence shows direct-cash transfers are a very effective form of giving, as they increase people’s income, boost food consumption and dietary diversity, and are tied to improved school attendance, health care visits, household savings, and investments in productive assets.”

The goal of is to initially form a $10 million fund, $3.5 million of which has already been raised. Once the fund is established, the exchange will form a team to manage payments distribution via so called “ambassadors,” who are.trusted local volunteers in targeted markets.

GiveCrypto said it will also experiment with other methods of distributing donated funds, such as working with nonprofits already established in the area, and building an app to track distribution. Per the announcement, the organization hopes to gain insight into whether payments are useful to recipients, how funds are exchanged into local currency, and how funds are eventually utilized.

In July 2015, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded Ghana-based blockchain startup Bitsoko, which focused on promoting widespread acceptance of mobile money by small merchants. The technology and opportunities that Bitsoko would bring to Africa intended to fuel the on-going development and improvement of the financial infrastructure in Kenya and Africa.

Last month, actor Ashton Kutcher donated $4 million Ripple (XRP) to Ellen Degeneres’ Wildlife Fund, which was established to support global conservation efforts for critically endangered species. IBM and Global Citizen, an NGO dedicated to alleviating poverty, announced sponsorship of a contest for a charity donation blockchain platform. The goal of the initiative is to ensure that donated funds are utilized in an effective and efficient manner.