In the time-honored tradition of giving people things they otherwise do not want for free, the MIT Bitcoin Project will be handing every undergrad $100 in Bitcoin next semester. The campus, the project's creators hope, will become a giant social and economic experiment for Bitcoin.
MIT Sophomore Jeremy Rubin and first-year MBA student Dan Elitzer raised over half a million dollars from alumni and members of the Bitcoin community for the project. The sum will be divided among the school's nearly 5,000 undergraduates, with the remainder going toward the cost of maintaining the program.
By putting Bitcoin in every digital wallet, the project aims to create "an ecosystem for digital currencies" at MIT. Students might be inspired to work on projects such as secure wallets or microtipping services. "I think that MIT should be absolutely the center of the bitcoin universe," Rubin told MIT's newspaper The Tech. "As a school that's a leader in technology and science fields … it's kind of a shame that we're not already at this point."
College campuses, with their self-contained economies, do seem like ideal places to experiment with a Bitcoin economy—especially a tech-savvy campus like MIT. But, as high-profile Bitcoin mishaps have shown, it's all a lot more complicated than dealing with the normal old bank. There's prices wildly fluctuating, exchanges disappearing, digital wallets getting stolen—let's just say we're curious to check in a year from now. [The Tech via The Wire]
Top image: Great Dome at MIT via John Phelan/Wikimedia Commons