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MIT Study: Bitcoin Not Popular with Students

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:51 PM
Rebecca Campbell
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:51 PM

A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has found that, contrary to popular belief, bitcoin is not the payment of choice for students.

In 2014, two MIT students, Jeremy Rubin and Dan Elitzer, raised $500,000 and started the MIT Bitcoin Project. For every undergraduate student that signed up to the project they were provided with $100 worth of bitcoin.

The goal of the project was to establish an ‘ecosystem for digital currencies at MIT.’

When the project started bitcoin was one of the most popular topics, attracting a positive number of students to take part.

Throughout the project, over 3,100 students were part of it. However, within the first month, 40 percent of the students involved had traded their bitcoins in for money. After two years, that number had dropped significantly with only 14 percent of students still utilizing the digital currency to shop, trade, and send overseas.

Speaking to the Boston Globe , Christian Catalini, an MIT assistant professor who oversaw the experiment said that the remaining students involved were holding on to their bitcoins in the hope that its value would increase.


One factor that saw a significant drop in the number of students using bitcoin as payment was down to the fact that the stores located around the campus weren’t very accepting of bitcoin. As a result, most of the students opted to pay with cards and cash instead.

While bitcoin hasn’t caught on at MIT, the bitcoin project has provided plenty of data as to how consumers adopt and employ a new technology, according to Catalina.

Acceptance of Bitcoin

Since its introduction, the use of bitcoin has received mixed reviews from a number of companies and people. However, it has remained steadfast, gaining popularity over the years.

It hasn’t been easy, though, for the digital currency in its journey for acceptance.

While the New York Department of Financial Services issued its first BitLicense, permitting services to be offered involving digital currencies in the state, some Russian lawmakers have been attempting to get bitcoin outlawed.

A Florida judge ruled earlier this year that bitcoin isn’t money, while U.S. district judge in New York has found that bitcoin is money in a criminal case that involved a man operating an unlicensed bitcoin exchange.

Of course, these are just a few instances where the use of bitcoin has been brought into question. However, it remains to be seen whether or not the digital currency will be the payment of choice in the future as it continues on its path of acceptance.

Featured image of MIT Chapel from iStock/gnagel. Image from Shutterstock.