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Bitcoin Education The Almighty Buck

MIT Bitcoin Project To Create Cryptocurrency Ecosystem, Give $100 Per Student 107

Posted by timothy
from the lighter-than-bills-for-the-bursar's-office-too dept.
rjmarvin (3001897) writes "Two MIT students have raised $500,000 to turn the campus into a cryptocurrency ecoystem, giving each MIT undergrad $100 in Bitcoin (or about 0.22 Bitcoins) starting next Fall. The MIT Bitcoin Project will make MIT the first physical location worldwide with widespread access to the digital currency. As of yet, there are no regulations governing how the students can use it."
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MIT Bitcoin Project To Create Cryptocurrency Ecosystem, Give $100 Per Student

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  • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @12:20PM (#46869047) Homepage Journal

    Giving every student a fedora and trench-coat.

    Unfortunately there was no money left for the "enough razors to shave neck-beards" initiative

  • Usage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rjstanford (69735) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @12:24PM (#46869089) Homepage Journal

    The issue with BitCoin isn't the acquisition, its the storage and spending. Giving each student easy access to a university-run "bank" with safe backed-up storage and good access would be a big step in the right direction. Having everywhere in MIT that accepts dollars also accept BitCoin would do far more.

    The reason that the dollar works - that all currency works, really - is that people need it to interact with the government. Make BitCoin the easiest way to interact with MIT (for daily use stuff even) and people will use it, which will force them to acquire it, which will entice more people to take it, etc.

    • Re:Usage (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jeff Flanagan (2981883) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @12:39PM (#46869247)
      >Having everywhere in MIT that accepts dollars also accept BitCoin would do far more.

      Sure, but why deal in bitcoin at all unless it's to buy prohibited items from black markets via the Internet or smuggle money across borders? For any other transaction, the local currency offers much more stability and much faster transactions.
      • by jfengel (409917)

        Well... dollars do suck from a security standpoint. There's the paper bits, which are inconvenient in large amounts. And there's the usual electronic methods, whose security is practically criminal: the idea that somebody could find my wallet and use it to drain my bank account, or incur five-figure debts with the onus of disproof on me, is utterly absurd.

        Not that Bitcoin is automatically all that much better: it's still rather inconvenient and its security apparently rather doubtful. Rolling out chip-and-P

    • Many colleges have on-campus currencies- usually dollars are attached to a student ID card via Blackboard or a similar piece of software. I don't use campus currency from my alma mater in my present day-to-day life. How would this be any different?
    • > The reason that the dollar works - that all currency works,
      > really - is that people need it to interact with the government.

      No, governement needs it to interact with people. People tell government to create a stable currency and keep its value. If these are no longer issues, well...

      • by rjstanford (69735)

        Actually the Fed is charged with two roles - managing the currency to balance low inflation with low unemployment. The fact that in recent years they've focussed on one to the exclusion of the other is a relatively recent occurrence that has much to do with our current wealth concentration issues.

    • The issue with BitCoin isn't the acquisition, its the storage and spending. Giving each student easy access to a university-run "bank" with safe backed-up storage and good access would be a big step in the right direction.

      So you know, something functionally identical to the role currently played by regular US dollars?

      If Bitcoins advocates were a little more self-aware, the whole thing would have value as a giant educational exercise into why the modern financial system is structured the way it is. Unfortunately...

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @12:26PM (#46869105) Homepage

    giving each MIT undergrad $100 in Bitcoin (or about 0.22 Bitcoins) starting next Fall

    So, how does this work? Every time I see reference to fractional bitcoins I get confused.

    Is a bitcoin an atomic or a divisible unit? I'd thought it was an atomic unit, and there wouldn't be things like 0.22 Bitcoins. How do you spend a fraction of a bitcoin?

    Are there bitpennies? I don't think I understand this new fangled stuff well enough yet.

    • They're divisible down to 8(?) decimal places.
    • Mathemagic.

      The blockchain records the coin split. It can also record coin fractions being rejoined to conserve space. The bitcoin is just a fundamental unit, like the dollar. It can still be divided.

    • The basic unit is the Satoshi. There are 100,000,000 Satoshis in a Bitcoin. But, like in the article, most people just use decimals to avoid the more confusing (but still used) terms like microBitcon.
    • > So, how does this work?

      Internally, the bitcoin software and the Block Chain ledger track integer numbers of "satoshi", the smallest unit in the system. One bitcoin is equal to 100 million satoshi, in the same way USD $1 million is equal to 100 million pennies. Back when one bitcoin was worth a few dollars, it was convenient to use that unit. Now the developers are considering jumping to a coin unit that is 100 satoshi (a millionth of a bitcoin), since dealing with fractions appears to be hard for peo

  • What does the IRS think about this little financial transaction?

    • by bobbied (2522392)

      What does the IRS think about this little financial transaction?

      Never fear, the IRS will get their cut. Just remember that they will never accept BitCoin, only DOLLARS.

    • What does the IRS think about this little financial transaction?

      The IRS recently released a notice regarding virtual currencies.

      http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-dro... [irs.gov]

      I am not an accountant or tax advisor, but my understanding is that bitcoins are considered a property and not a currency so users must keep track of their basis and gains or losses like with stock purchases.

      For incoming coins the new coins have a value based on the time they were received. The old coins returning to you based on when they were new. For outgoing coins (not including those coming back)

  • Well just make sure to save all your receipts for that $3 latte or whatever else you buy for 7 years along with hire a tax professional to figure everything out since you are paying with property that will have capitol gains/losses.

  • by niftymitch (1625721) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @12:56PM (#46869397)

    Like casinos in Nevada that mint their own silver dollar size tokens
    and gaming chips it may make sense for closed electronic transaction
    systems.

    Parents and scholarships might make deposits to the account of a student.
    Time payments to ensure a meal ticket or rent budget not be blown in a weekend
    might be facilitated.

    Interesting.....

  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @01:17PM (#46869627)

    Really the main question is why? What was the supposed problem that this is solving? Or is this yet another solution in search of a problem.

    • There's a widespread distrust of the conventional finance system, as it's reached the point where there are so many levels of abstraction that few people can understand how it actually works any more. Bitcoin has serious flaws, but it's part of an effort to find a technological solution.

    • It's solving the "Byzantine Generals" problem ( https://research.microsoft.com... [microsoft.com] ), which in simple terms is how to reach consensus without trust. In the context of a payment network like Bitcoin, the consensus to be reached is which transactions have occurred, and therefore what account balance each user has. Prior to the Bitcoin network, the only known method was a trusted third party, such as a bank, who keeps a central ledger of transactions and balances. The problem with a middleman is they can ext

  • Is to legitimize virtual currencies and get people primed for the move away from cash, because what gives those in power even more power?
    Complete and utter control over your finances.

    • by PRMan (959735)
      But even countries trying to ban bitcoin are having a hard time controlling it. Bitcoin is anonymous if you don't look closely, but if you really dig in and put resources toward investigating, you can track coins. It technologically enforces what the Constitution intended.
  • Cryptocurrencies rely on smartphones and wallet backups and encryption and time delays and blah blah blah. It's actually less convenient and easy than cash or credit. So what they need is an NFC-like system. Just get the "credit belts" from the book A Tale of Time City or something. Those worked pretty slick! With bitcoins the delay to verify that a transmission wasn't faked is up to 10 minutes. Even in litecoin, it's 2.5 minutes. That's a bit long to hang around and make awkward conversation with th
  • Next fall? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @02:14PM (#46870353)

    ...giving each MIT undergrad $100 in Bitcoin (or about 0.22 Bitcoins) starting next Fall.

    By next fall, 100$ in Bitcoin might be 0.0022BTC or 22BTC.

    • The money they raised was in dollars, and will stay in dollars until fall. So the students will get $100 worth of bitcoins at the time they get it, although we don't know the number of BTC that will be yet.

  • I foresee some young enterprising student to institute a "Beer for BitCoin" service. ... and since the BitCoins are being given free, I guess it falls under "Free as in Beer".

If A = B and B = C, then A = C, except where void or prohibited by law. -- Roy Santoro

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