Senior columnist Michael Casey is leaving his 18-year old seat at the Wall Street Journal to advise the MIT Media Lab's Digital Currency Initiative.

Casey hinted at the move in a leaked goodbye e-mail to his colleagues last week, calling the position “too exciting to turn down.” Thursday he explained:

“Leaving The Wall Street Journal after 18 years is not a decision I took lightly. What it does reflect is my belief that digital currency is on the cusp of becoming a major transformative force in society and I can’t think of a better place to help make that happen than the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative.”

WSJ Senior columnist Michael Casey

- Michael Casey

Casey co-authored The Age of Cryptocurrency with Paul Vigna and has been covering the latest Bitcoin news and analysis on BitBeat.

The MIT Media Lab, an interdisciplinary research group that devoted to technologies ranging from neurobiology to robotics, launched the Digital Currency Initiative in April with a goal of bringing together global experts for research. The laboratory recently took over funding three core Bitcoin developers—Gavin Andresen, Wladimir van der Laan, and Cory Fields—from the Bitcoin Foundation.

Even Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto chimed in on Casey's decision:

“His vast global experience reporting on important social issues in the developing world gives him unique insight into the critical issues that can be addressed with the blockchain.”

Now, Casey's Twitter profile reads: “prospective blockchain nerd.”