In November, we began distributing $100 in Bitcoin to every undergraduate student at MIT. A large share of the 4,500 eligible students participated in the project.
Bitcoin is an innovative payment network that allows for instant peer-to-peer transactions with zero or very low processing fees on a worldwide scale. The objective of the study is to observe the diffusion of Bitcoin, a software-based, open-source, peer-to-peer payment system on the MIT campus.
The initiative began in April 2014 when students Jeremy Rubin and Dan Elitzer organized the idea, raised the funds from donors, and launched the MIT Bitcoin Project. I started working with these students when it quickly became clear that the project had to become a full research study and had to meet the rigorous requirements of academic research at MIT.
Observing the ways students will innovate because of their newfound Bitcoin cash should be fascinating: MIT students are tech savvy, not set in their ways, generally a bit cash strapped anyway, and often open to new innovations. In the same way that MIT gave students early access to computing resources through the Athena project in 1983, this project intends to give participants early access to a digital currency.
Read the full post at Xconomy.
Christian Catalini is the Fred Kayne (1960) Career Development Professor of Entrepreneurship and Assistant Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management.