Thanks to the efforts of two students, Jeremy Rubin and Dan Elitzer, and a few donors, all 4,500 undergraduates at MIT will receive $100 in Bitcoin this fall. The students plan on using the gift to create a “Bitcoin ecosystem” at the school, and they hope to ultimately study how students use the currency on campus.
Sure, why not.
“Really, it’s like the early days of the Internet, where the sky’s the limit, and there are so many things that could be built,” Rubin told USA TODAY Network.
For example, Rubin said he thinks students could build apps for a decentralized Kickstarter campaign or a decentralized stock exchange. Students could also address how to securely store Bitcoin wallets, he said.
“Will they save it? Will they spend it? It’s really being done as an experiment,” [chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation Gavin] Andresen told USA TODAY Network. “I’m a big fan of experimental economics.”
Bitcoin is still a confusing concept for those of us who haven’t gone all in, but widespread introduction of the currency will probably be handled better at MIT than, say, Arizona State. (“Whaddaya mean I can’t buy this 30 rack with Bitcoin, bro?”) At least, that’s the vibe I’m getting from one dean:
Dennis Freeman, MIT’s dean for undergraduate education, said the project was helping the university community to “better understand this emerging technology,” according to an e-mail to USA TODAY Network.
Anyway, I think it’d be great if one undergrad became MIT’s king of Bitcoin—stabbing backs and and swindling from friends and hoarding digital currency like a modern-day Rockefeller—only to turn around pay his tuition in the untested, destabilized currency.
Then we’ll see how much the university loves Bitcoin.
[H/T: USA Today]