Through a partnership with the International Telecommunication Union, a UNICEF-led initiative is taking a creative approach to tackling the problem of Internet inaccessibility in schools in developing countries. This initiative led to the development of Giga NFTs in 2019.
While the majority of the world is busy transitioning from Web2 to Web3 or taking small steps to understand the concept, the truth is that the World Wide Web is still inaccessible to almost 2.9 billion people worldwide.
At the Blockchain Expo in Amsterdam, Gerben Kijne, the company’s blockchain product manager, described Giga’s Project Connect initiative. In impoverished countries around the world, Giga has made strides in bringing internet access to schools.
Project Connect was used to map the schools’ connectivity as an initial phase of this process. On an open-source map, Giga uses machine learning to search satellite imagery and locate schools. Over 1.1 million schools are located in 49 different countries and connectivity information is available for a third of them.
The next phase of the process was to develop an innovative fundraiser that delved into the world of blockchain, cryptocurrencies and NFTs after discovering how many schools needed internet connectivity.
Giga decided to capitalize on the NFT trend by launching its own NFT-driven fundraising experiment in March 2022.
To present a series of 1000 procedurally generated NFTs, Giga collaborated with Dutch artist Nadieh Bremer. The NFTs, which symbolize those with and without an internet connection, were created using Giga’s school data.
The collection of NFTs includes data on more than 280,000 schools from 21 countries, and each artwork represents a subset of those schools.
Bremer noted during launch, “Giga’s live maps guided my artwork, using their data to create 1,000 tiny fantasy artworks while subtly attempting to convey the meaning of the project; There are still many schools that are not connected to the internet and many children are excluded.”
This is reportedly the first time the UN has produced NFTs based on data, in addition to the organization’s largest known collection of NFTs. The Ethereum Foundation, Snowcrash Labs, CfC St. Moritz, Metagood and Wondros all support the collection.
According to Kijne, NFTs can help donors feel more connected to their donations by allowing donors to track the impact of their contributions by donating to a specific school’s NFT and tracking when the money raised is “redeemed.” will have to pay for internet access.
The fundraising efforts based on NFT yielded a wealth of insights. Kijne reflected on how creating a community before launch would have increased support.
Kijne remarked: “I think some people have joined us, they have formed one of two camps. We have the people we targeted, Giga followers. Many bought their first NFT ever. Then the other group are people who think, “Oh, a UNICEF NFT! Let me address that.”
The project was deemed successful at the March 2022 public auction, which raised $550,000 and sold out completely within three hours. Secondary sales on OpenSea provided 20% of the additional funds generated.
The Patchwork Kingdom NFTs are described as modern time capsules that capture where children are currently connected and where children are yet to access the internet and all the connectivity offerings for their well-being and potential.
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