Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

MIT Project Giving Every Student $100 - in Bitcoin

Image: Mock Bitcoins
Mock BitcoinsPAWEL KOPCZYNSKI / Reuters file

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Two students at MIT have raised enough money to hand out $100 in bitcoin to every undergrad at the university — though they admit they don't know what will happen next.

The MIT Bitcoin Project is aimed at creating awareness and interest in bitcoin, the original online-only cryptocurrency and something consumers and regulators alike struggle to comprehend.

Jeremy Rubin, a sophomore, and Dan Elitzer, a graduate student, managed to pull in over $500,000 in pledges after contacting alumni and the bitcoin community. The plan is to distribute it in the fall among the institution's more than 4,500 undergrads, $100 apiece — about a quarter of a bitcoin at the current exchange rate.

Image: Mock Bitcoins
Mock BitcoinsPAWEL KOPCZYNSKI / Reuters file

What the students do with it is up to them. Sell it to a friend for textbook money, exchange it for goods on a shadowy bitcoin market online, or perhaps build an app that makes use of the currency's unique talents.

"We want to issue a challenge to some of the brightest technical minds of a generation," said Elitzer in a press release announcing the project. "When you step onto campus this fall, all of your classmates are going to have access to bitcoin; what are you going to build to give them interesting ways to use it?"

Whether the project will jump-start interest in bitcoin or just give a class of students a bit of pocket cash is hard to say; we'll find out this fall when the giveaway takes effect.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news