By Samuel Richter
In early 2009, developer Satoshi Nakamoto introduced to the world to the software known as Bitcoin. The online software uses a public ledger book to store payment records using the system as its own unit of currency.
Bitcoin has seen much growth since its inception. Through the development and destruction of the Silk Road, to top companies using the currency to make payments, Bitcoin is now becoming a large piece of the modern financial system.
The financial tool has become so relevant in the banking society today that at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, two students have started a club issuing all students $100 in Bitcoin.
Students Jeremy Rubin and Daniel Elitzer are the two masterminds behind the project. They raised over $500,000 in donations from alumni in order to begin their project.
“We decided to announce this project now to give students lead time,” said Elitzer. “We want to issue a challenge to some of the brightest technical minds of a generation: ‘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?’”
Bitcoin can be used for a number of purposes, from simple tasks such as making payments on Overstock.com, to making semi-anonymous, illegal purchases on black markets.
Whether or not this project will be successful is yet to be determined, but it is definitely clear that Bitcoin is becoming a major piece of the financial sector and has developed into a tool that will be used indefinitely in our time.
It will be interesting to see how this develops at MIT, and it will be interesting to see how the students decide to use their Bitcoin funds.
Disastrous quantitative easing policies pursued by the Federal Reserve of late and frequent credit-card security breaches highlight the clear need for alternatve currencies and payment protocols like Bitcoin.
Will a similar club be coming to Union soon? Only time will tell how this venture will affect not only MIT, but also our campus and the world.