MIT students raise cash to give $100 in Bitcoins to every undergrad

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Mariella Moon
April 30th, 2014
In this article: bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, experiment, mit
MIT students raise cash to give $100 in Bitcoins to every undergrad

Starting this fall, every MIT undergrad will have at least $100 worth of Bitcoins to their name, thanks to a couple of students who've raised half a million to do so. But, they're not just doing it so their schoolmates can eat something other than ramen -- this is actually an official project by the school's Bitcoin Club, so professors and researchers from the institute can study how students spend their virtual money. This initiative, started by computer science sophomore Jeremy Rubin and MIT Bitcoin Club president Dan Elitzer, was funded by MIT alumni and people with vested interest in the currency. The two masterminds believe this move is necessary for MIT to continue being at the "forefront of emerging technologies." Rubin even said:

Giving students access to cryptocurrencies is analogous to providing them with internet access at the dawn of the internet era.

[Image credit: George Frey/Getty Images]

The students can't use their stash (that's 0.2247 BTC, according to current exchange rates) to shop from Amazon, but they're free to spend it on whatever they want. So, here are a few suggestions:

  • Go to Yelp to find local businesses that accept Bitcoins and hopefully eat something better than canned goods.
  • Access Square Market to buy from and support small businesses, if $100 is chump change to them.
  • Get a Bitcoin debit card, so they can use their Bitcoins to pay in any establishment that accepts Mastercards.
Rubin and Elitzer are still working out how to distribute the money to 4,528 undergrads. But once they've accomplished that, MIT might have the biggest concentration of people with access to the cryptocurrency.
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