In November MIT undergraduates who signed up for the MIT Bitcoin Project each received the equivalent of $100 in the cryptocurrency. Now that they have it, they are beginning to develop innovative ways to use it, MIT Spectrum reports.
The MIT Bitcoin Project has partnered with Institute researchers and professors to study how students use their bitcoins and measure growth in the bitcoin ecosystem at MIT. The MIT Club provides a forum within and beyond the MIT community, where Bitcoin-related ideas, projects, programs, events, and businesses can be studied, discussed, and developed.
The project was established by MIT students Jeremy Rubin and Dan Elitzer, who raised half a million US dollars in a plan to distribute Bitcoin to every undergraduate at MIT.
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Takeout food is proving to be a popular way for students to spend their funds. In anticipation of the MIT project, a number of merchants near campus have enabled bitcoin payment – including the MIT COOP, the first major university bookstore to accept bitcoin. Some students, however, are doing what many seasoned Bitcoin users do – holding to their coins for now, seeing them as an investment.
Aeronautics and Astronautics student Sam Udotong is developing an app, called Fireflies, which allows community members to exchange bitcoins for errands. Udotong won the Awesome Award during the project’s Summer Startup Competition.
A Project Athena for Bitcoin
The project can be compared to the Athena project, which gave MIT students access to computing resources in the early 1980s before the internet was widely available. Project Athena’s mandate was to explore diverse uses of computing and to understand the potential of computers to transform the future. Needless to say, many students involved in Project Athena went on and actually developed the future of computing.
MIT Sloan School of Management Professor Christian Catalini wrote:
This offers a unique experience for the most inventive and entrepreneurial students at MIT, as they will have a chance to experiment and test their ideas within a campus where the diffusion of digital currencies will be years ahead of anywhere else.”
Images from MIT, f11photo, IVY PHOTOS and Shutterstock.