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MIT sets up Bitcoin student spend study

4,528 undergraduates to get $100 each
Wed Apr 30 2014, 12:08
Students will get free money

TWO STUDENTS at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have worked together to raise a half a million dollar fund that will be turned into Bitcoins and shared among their peers for educational purposes.

A statement from MIT names the benevolent Bitcoin donors as Dan Elitzer, founder and president of the MIT Bitcoin Club and Jeremy Rubin, a sophomore studying electrical engineering and computer science.

Rubin said that the gift of coins is the latest equivalent of the gift of an internet connection in earlier times. "Giving students access to cryptocurrencies is analogous to providing them with internet access at the dawn of the internet era," he said.

Each of the 4,000-plus MIT students will get $100 in Bitcoins to do with as they please. This is part of what is called the MIT Bitcoin Project, and MIT said that this will involve studies of how students spend money, and Bitcoins in particular.

No one is making any guesses about how and where the money will be spent. These are students, but they are MIT students. Spending options are out there.

"We decided to announce this project now to give students lead time," said Elitzer as the group prepared to start the study. "We want to issue a challenge to some of the brightest technical minds of a generation: 'When you step onto campus this fall, all of your classmates are going to have access to Bitcoin; what are YOU going to build to give them interesting ways to use it?'"

As the project runs, students will be treated to a number of talks from people in the Bitcoin community.

Thomas Hardjono, executive director of the MIT Kerberos and Internet Trust Consortium, welcomed the start of the study. "Bitcoin and related cryptocurrencies pave the way for personal data to be recognized as a new digital asset class," he said.

"The MIT Bitcoin Project is a truly exciting venture that will provide the foundation for research into other classes of digital assets."

The $500,000 in funds raised will cover the distribution of $100 worth of bitcoin to all 4,528 MIT undergraduates. µ


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