In October 2014, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launched MIT Bitcoin Project, A plan to give away $500,000 worth of Bitcoin to undergraduate students.
Students can ask for 100 USD worth of BTC in exchange for filling out a survey, which was about 0.3 BTC at the time. The project was led by students Jeremy Rubin and Dan Elitzer, who raised $500,000 from university alumni and representatives of the Bitcoin community.
The project aims to encourage the exploration of digital assets and cultivate the campus as Global Encryption Research Center.
3,100 students took advantage of this offer. At the time, Bitcoin worth nearly $200,000 was unclaimed, and the university distributed BTC worth about $33.8 million at the current price.
Although many students may have spent their free Bitcoin stash, MIT Cooperative Bookstore launches support for BTC As payment for textbooks, school supplies, and other MIT goods in September 2014, Bloomberg interviewed a student who still held the Bitcoin that MIT gave her seven years ago.
Although the value of 0.3 Bitcoin fell from $19,500 in mid-April to nearly $11,000 today, MIT alumni Mary Spanjers description Her experience with cryptocurrency was “very amazing” and added:
“Most of us think this is a joke.”
Bloomberg also interviewed other MIT alumni who quickly ran out of bitcoin. Some participants lamented that they spent bitcoin on groceries or restaurants, including a nearby sushi restaurant that accepts bitcoin. The online forum recommends that other students use their cryptocurrency for beer, shoes, and other trivial expenses.
Christian Catalini, an MIT associate professor in charge of the Bitcoin project, estimates that 10% of participating students cashed out their BTC within two weeks, and as of mid-2017 when the project was completed, 25% of the students had already withdrawn.