Every MIT Undergrad Getting $100 in Bitcoin
Students want to see what happens when cryptocurrency is widely used
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2014 8:30 AM CDT
This April 3, 2013 file photo shows bitcoin tokens in Sandy, Utah.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

(Newser) – When MIT's 4,500 undergraduates return to campus this fall, each of them will receive $100 worth of bitcoin. Why? Undergraduate student Jeremy Rubin, 19, and MBA student Daniel Elitzer want to create a bitcoin ecosystem at the school, in an effort to make the currency more commonplace, the Guardian reports. "We want to issue a challenge to some of the brightest technical minds of a generation: 'When you step on to 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?'" Elitzer explains in the official announcement. Adds Rubin, "Giving students access to cryptocurrencies is analogous to providing them with Internet access at the dawn of the Internet era."

The idea behind this and similar projects: The more people who own and use bitcoin, the more likely the currency is to survive—plus, an infrastructure will theoretically be built, with more businesses figuring out ways to accept bitcoins as payment and students developing bitcoin-related applications."Getting everyone at MIT to start playing with bitcoin … will prompt the MIT community to begin thinking seriously about how we can live in an all-digital future," a faculty supporter of the project tells MIT's The Tech. And, as the Boston Globe points out, MIT professors and researchers will be able to study how the currency is used. Rubin and Elitzer raised more than $500,000 to fund the giveaway, half of it coming from an MIT alum who now works in high-frequency trading on Wall Street. (Some things bitcoin can currently be used to buy? A ticket to space, fancy real estate, tuition at one university, and stuff on Overstock.com.)

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Showing 3 of 37 comments
May 1, 2014 12:28 AM CDT
Guys, trade your Bitcoin for OlympicCoin (OLY) on Mintpal, it is so cheap right now.
Apr 30, 2014 2:41 PM CDT
Whoa, that makes the $50,000 per year bill easier to take....not! All this will do is make certain pizza places very happy. Or make the campus a mining center. (It is, after all, a technical school....) Or maybe it is just to get back at Harvard, as the locals in Boston call the bridge on to the edge of the MIT campus the "Harvard" bridge.
Chris Farley
Apr 30, 2014 12:10 PM CDT
So they will have a worthless, and expensive peace of paper and some worthless bit coins to go with it. Wup-Wup Walmart.