New experiment gives all MIT undergrads $100 in Bitcoin

MIT's bold Bitcoin project starts this fall.

This fall, students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology will engage in a bold Bitcoin experiment. 

When the school's 4,528 undergraduates arrive on campus they will all receive $100 worth of Bitcoin, the peer-to-peer digital currency. It comes courtesy of Jeremy Rubin and Dan Elitzer, both undergrads at the university, who raised $500,000 for their MIT Bitcoin Project from MIT alumni and the "Bitcoin community."

The idea is that Bitcoins will spur "academic and entrepreneurial activity" on campus and that MIT researchers can study how the students use the cyptocurrency.

"Giving students access to cryptocurrencies is analogous to providing them with internet access at the dawn of the internet era," said Rubin, in the announcement.

According to the students, the project will make MIT the first place in the world "where it will be possible to assume widespread access to Bitcoin."

The purpose behind announcing the project now, long before classes start again?

"We decided to announce this project now to give students lead time," said Elitzer in a press release. "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?'"

But this isn't the first time Rubin has come up with an innovative idea for Bitcoin. In 2013, Rubin developed a concept called Tidbit that would allow visitors of websites to mine Bitcoins rather than be shown advertisements. But surely Rubin is hoping his latest experiment goes better than the last, which led to a battle with New Jersey's Division of Consumer Affairs.

Read on: MIT

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