MIT Bitcomp has produced its first winners – and community judges were taken aback by the scale of talent the project has unveiled.

Part of the MIT Bitcoin Project, which will see all MIT undergraduates receiving US$100 next semester, Bitcomp challenged prospective, current and past students as well as outsiders to create the ultimate yet ‘doable’ Bitcoin innovation.

Among the judges was popular blogger Two-Bit Idiot, who was particularly impressed by the ideas the entrants put forward:

“There were charitable applications, educational apps, and projects geared towards improving the ethnic and gender inclusivity of Bitcoin.  There were even teams working on near-field communication point of sale solutions which would allow bitcoiners to transfer money via taps or even sound transfers. And those were just the Bitcoin 1.0 ideas.”

Now the winners of round one of the project have been announced, however, and feature some dynamic approaches to creating innovations which are, to use a classic phrase, ‘simple yet brilliant’:

  • “BitTax, which helps legitimize cryptocurrencies by providing a way for users to correctly file Bitcoin-related taxes;
  • Ethos, which uses blockchain technology to decentralize online identities, allowing people to regain control and ownership of their own data;
  • sWallet, which brings Bitcoin to the masses with a wallet that provides security and usability without requiring trust.”

“Bitcoin has the potential to change a lot about our world,” BitTax creators Tiffany Wong and Pavleen Thukral said. “We want to be a part of that but we also want to be responsible about it… Let's make Bitcoin legit.”

Other entries made a similar impression despite not being selected, in a display of the creative thinking surrounding Bitcoin, which is just beginning to be tapped.

“In perhaps the most ambitious pitch I reviewed, the team plans to build tech that facilitates drone deliveries paid for with Bitcoin,” Two Bit Idiot blogged, and to which he added:

“Go ahead, I chuckled at that one, too.  Until, of course, I realized that the student was serious and, dare I say, measured in his pitch: ‘I want to emphasize that I am more interested in developing the technology in this project than the commercial applications, as commercialization may be postponed until September 2015 due to FAA regulations,’ [he said]. These kids have done their homework.”

The winning entries meanwhile will now move on to round two of the competition, which will see them produce a demo video of the project in progress. Newcomers may also participate, even if they did not attend round one.   

More information on the MIT Bitcoin Project can be found here.

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