It really should not come as a surprise that Bitcoin would find a home on many university campuses but for it to be a popular idea at a university like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) should be a no brainer. MIT is one of, if not the top technical university in the United States, possibly the world. University students, especially tech, economics and hard science students, tend to look at how things might be several years in the future and if the idea of cryptocurrencies gains popularity with them there is a excellent chance that the idea's future is bright indeed.
The College Cryptocurrency Network (CCN) describes itself as a non-profit international organization whose goal is to assist in the formation of a network of college cryptocurrency clubs in order to foster education, trading, mining and start-ups and they already have clubs at Stanford, MIT, Michigan, the Warsaw School of Economics, Penn State, San Francisco State, Northwestern, Ohio State, UC Berkeley, Boise State, Simon Fraser University, Kansas, Kent State, the University of Texas, and Boston College.
CCN’s website reads:
“The College Cryptocurrency Network (CCN) is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to forming a robust network of college clubs for cryptocurrency education, mining, trading, and start-ups.”
The organization will certainly find a home at MIT when its Bitcoin club announced the MIT Bitcoin Project and received its own Bitcoin ATM. The project is expected to last an entire year and includes organized “hack-a-thons”, student competitions, and academic discussions that are all tied together with a half million drop on MIT undergrads this coming fall, a move that will directly benefit more than 4,500 students. The project, which began in April, inspired Coinbase to offer its own Bitcoin giveaway of $200,000 worth of bitcoins to 20,000 new students over a two week period.
They will be sponsoring a summer-long BitComp (Bitcoin competition) that seems to be very well organized. The contest will have three rounds, start off with 45 teams of 125 students each. Each student will be submitting a 250 word elevator pitch for new Bitcoin business ideas. The student competitors will be attending a series of technical workshops and listen to representatives of both Coinbase and Chain.com that will teach how to build applications with their API's
Dan Elitzer, Founder of the MIT Bitcoin Club and Co-founder of the Bitcoin Project said recently about the Club:
"We're trying to get some of the brightest minds of the generation using Bitcoin and experimenting with it on a deeper level.”
Not everyone was so positive, however. Christine Lagario of Inc thinks that the Project amounts to nothing less than bribery and financial coercion. She uses soda beverages as an analogy. If the latter were to offer stock in those companies to college students, the public would be in an uproar. What Ms. Lagario is missing, however, is that nearly every industry offers samples and not just go college students.
She also speaks as if giving Bitcoin to students as a way to familiarize and prepare them for a possible new paradigm was somehow, in itself, a bad thing. Again, this is a marketing tactic that is used regularly by many industries including credit card companies.
Not only do these clubs promote and educate people about Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and their benefits, but student-founded organization like CCN could help direct some of today’s brightest minds to push digital currencies into the mainstream and create a truly decentralized, trustless, principle-based economy based on egalitarian values.