At around 7pm last night, someone (or someones) dumped a bunch of Bitcoins into the MIT food drive, which totalled 13,080BTC in one lump sum. Since then, many MIT students have been scouring their wallets to see what they can get back for their Bitcoins. “I thought it would be cool to have [my Bitcoins] in the form of a check,” said [MIT student] Tim O’Beirne. “But it turns out the BTC is now worthless. I only got $50 back for my $2,000 in them.”
MIT students are known for their amazing ingenuity in all aspects of life. It turns out they are just as likely to come up with creative answers to issues as they are with technological ones. When they faced a food shortage due to a campus event, they had a smart—though somewhat unconventional—idea: the Campus Bitcoin Project kicked off in fall 2014.
MIT students are known for their creative and often ingenious methods of saving money, and they have shown this time and again. In a previous story, some students saved $600 by using a Bitcoin ATM. But the MIT Bitcoin Club has gone one step further, and has sold over 8,000 Bitcoins in order to buy food for an upcoming trip abroad.In October 2014, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launched the MIT Bitcoin Project, an initiative that aimed to distribute $500,000 worth of bitcoins to students. Students could get $100 in BTC for filling out the form, which at the time was equivalent to about $0.3 BTC. The project was started by students Jeremy Rubin and Dan Elitzer, who raised $500,000 from alumni and members of the Bitcoin community. The project is designed to encourage the study of digital assets and establish the campus as a global center for crypto-currency research. With 3,100 students taking advantage of the offer and about $200,000 in unclaimed bitcoins, the university has distributed about $33.8 million in BTC at the current rate. While many students have likely already spent the bitcoins they received for free, as MIT’s cooperative bookstore has accepted BTC as payment for textbooks, school supplies and other MIT items since September 2014, Bloomberg spoke with one student who is still holding on to the bitcoins MIT gave her seven years ago. Although 0.3 bitcoin has dropped from $19,500 in mid-April to nearly $11,000 today, MIT graduate Mary Spangers calls her experience with the cryptocurrency truly remarkable, adding: Most of us thought it was a joke. Bloomberg also met with other MIT graduates who wanted to spend their bitcoins quickly. Some participants complained about spending their BTC on food or in restaurants, including a nearby sushi restaurant that accepted bitcoins as payment. Online forums suggest that other students spent their cryptocurrencies on beer, shoes and other frivolous expenses. Christian Catalini, an associate professor at MIT who oversaw the Bitcoin project, estimated that 10% of participating students had paid off their BTC within two weeks and 25% had dropped out by the end of the project in mid-2017.
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