Some pretty interesting news came out of MIT on Tuesday. The MIT Bitcoin Club – the fact that there is such a club is news in and of itself – “raised half a million dollars for a project to distribute $100 in bitcoin to every undergraduate student at MIT this fall.”1 This is an incredible announcement. The MIT Bitcoin Project has a massive scope:
Plans for the MIT Bitcoin Project involve a range of activities, including working with professors and researchers across the Institute to study how students use the bitcoin they receive, as well as spurring academic and entrepreneurial activity within the university in this burgeoning field.2
Beyond these stated plans, there are tons of topics for research here. It seems like this is more of a social experiment than anything. The MIT Bitcoin Club was created by Dan Elitzer – the founder and President – a first-year in the MBA program at MIT Sloan and Jeremy Rubin, a sophomore studying electrical engineering and computer science at MIT. Ruben, noted in a statement, “Giving students access to cryptocurrencies is analogous to providing them with internet access at the dawn of the internet era.”3
To prepare for the bitcoin distribution, tentatively planned for this fall, the MIT Bitcoin Club has been tirelessly organizing a massive, school wide expo. The MIT Bitcoin Expo will take place on Saturday, May 3rd, and features some heavy-hitters:
The event will feature presentations and technical workshops from prominent figures within the Bitcoin community, including Gavin Andresen, Chief Scientist and Board Member of the Bitcoin Foundation; Sean Neville, Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer of Circle Internet Financial; Alan Reiner, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Armory Technologies; Ryan X. Charles, Software Engineer at BitPay; and James D’Angelo, Founder and Host of the World Bitcoin Network. 4
This is an incredibly ambitious program, and looks to be an excellent opportunity for MIT students.