The Boston Globe reports that two MIT students have raised half a million dollars for a project to distribute $100 in bitcoin to every undergraduate student at MIT this fall aimed at creating an ecosystem for digital currencies at MIT. "Right now there is not a geographic place that you can go to and assume that people have relatively broad access to bitcoin," says Daniel Elitzer, suggesting that that could change with their experiment, which might make for an interesting case study. "What might the world look like if bitcoin, or something like bitcoin, were widely accepted?" The bulk of funding for the project is being provided by MIT alumni who plan to distribute the $500,000 already pledged to all 4,528 undergraduates.
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 the field. "Giving students access to cryptocurrencies is analogous to providing them with internet access at the dawn of the internet era," says Jeremy Rubin, a sophomore studying computer science at MIT. When the distribution happens this fall, it will make the MIT campus the first place in the world where it will be possible to assume widespread access to Bitcoin. "Everybody has access to the Internet, right so you want to launch a webapp? Everybody can do that. You want to launch a bitcoin or cryptocurrency app?
That's a little bit harder. You can't test it in your immediate friend group. But hopefully [that's] what we'll enable."