Two students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Jeremy Rubin and Dan Elitzer, have raised more than USD 500,000 in bitcoin to realize a new cryptocurrency project.
Dan Elitzer, the founder of the MIT Bitcoin Club, and Jeremy Rubin, who is studying computer science, plan to distribute the money to every MIT student of all 4,528 undergrads. Each student will receive USD 100 in bitcoin. Their main goal is to educate the students about the digital currency.
Elitzer intends to make it possible for everyone at MIT to utilize their bitcoins within campus.
Thomas Hardjono, one of the supporters of the project and an executive director of the MIT Kerberos & Internet Trust Consortium, commented on the bitcoin experiment:
“Bitcoin and related cryptocurrencies pave the way for personal data to be recognized as a new digital asset class. The MIT Bitcoin Project is a truly exciting venture that will provide the foundation for research into other classes of digital assets.”
“I was laying in bed one night, brainstorming ideas,” said Jeremy Rubin. At first he wanted to spread money within a computer science class, but his partner on the project, Dan Elitzer, proposed to include the whole campus.
“Giving students access to cryptocurrencies is analogous to providing them with internet access at the dawn of the Internet era,” Rubin added.
Elitzer and Rubin have already planned certain activities and project to work with researchers and professors to study how students will use the digital currency.
MIT has always been an institution which is at the forefront of emerging technologies. Elitzer and Rubin want to help MIT to continue this tradition.
The funding of USD 500,000 was raised by the bitcoin community and MIT alumni. The sum is enough to cover the cost of the project.
The university’s head of undergraduate education, Dennis Freeman, supported the project. He said:
“By bringing students and faculty together to inform members of the MIT community about what bitcoin is and to research its use, Rubin and Elitzer are helping everyone to better understand this emerging technology.”
This is not first Rubin’s experience with bitcoin. In February, along with a group of bitcoin students, he developed the bitcoin mining program called Tidbit.
It is a project to replace online advertising with bitcoin mining. However, Tidbit was targeted by the New Jersey division of consumer affairs. Rubin received a subpoena due to the Garden State suspects that the program could involve fraud issues.
Elitzer and Rubin will start distributing bitcoin next fall. MIT campus will become the first place in the world with a widespread access to the virtual currency.