Every undergraduate student in MIT is to receive $100 worth of digital currency this fall.
And no, this is not going to be an “Airdrop” of “MITcoin”, promised to liberate the student body from the injustices of the dollar. It will be Bitcoin itself. Based on today’s price of roughly $450, this makes for roughly 0.22 BTC per student.
The distribution is being sponsored by MIT alumni and the Bitcoin community: roughly $500,000 worth for 4528 undergraduates.
The distribution is part of an MIT Bitcoin project to create an ecosystem for digital currencies at MIT. Activities will include studying how students use the bitcoins they receive, as well as motivating innovative and entrepreneurial work. The MIT Premier Bitcoin Expo will also take place next month, an appropriate preamble for the fall activities.
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Jeremy Rubin, a 2nd year computer science student, and Dan Elitzer, a first-year MBA student and President of the MIT Bitcoin club, are behind the project. Said Elitzer:
“We decided to announce this project now to give students lead time. 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?’”
It will be interesting to see what students do with the coin in one of the foremost institutions for technological advancement. Ideas that come to mind include: cracking the code for vulnerabilities, developing a better coin, more hacking initiatives, new mining technologies or big returns in bitcoin trading.
MIT has already established an intimate relationship with Bitcoin. Rubin is also behind Tidbit, a proof-of-concept developed in a competition that replaces display advertising with Bitcoin mining by tapping into the client’s CPU power. The New Jersey division of consumer affairs subpoenaed Rubin, who enlisted the support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Later, MIT’s president expressed his full support for Tidbit, saying, “I want to make it clear that the students who created Tidbit have the full and enthusiastic support of MIT.”