A group of MIT alums in their 20s could be sitting on 13,000% bitcoin returns after taking part in a school project that gave them free crypto | Currency News | Financial and Business News
- A group of MIT college graduates could be sitting on 13,000% bitcoin returns after participating in a 2014 project that gave away free cryptos, Bloomberg first reported.
- However, it is unclear how many students are still holding onto their Bitcoin.
- Insider followed Mary Spanjers, a 24-year-old profiled by Bloomberg who failed to sell the $ 100 bitcoin she first received in 2014.
- Register here for our daily newsletter 10 things before the opening bell.
As a college student, Mary Spanjers was always ready to take part in academic experiments on campus. She enjoyed getting a firsthand look at the research, and compensation in the form of cash or food was often an added incentive to get involved.
Years later, a free giveaway from an experiment is still paying off: a third of a bitcoin.
In 2014, the MIT Bitcoin Project allowed every student on campus to claim a partial ownership of a Bitcoin for free. Spanjers, who was first profiled in one Bloomberg article about the experiment, along with around 3,100 other students applied for the study.
Each student had to fill out a questionnaire and go through an information sheet, then, according to Bloomberg, they set up a digital wallet with $ 100 worth of bitcoin.
A third of a bitcoin is now around $ 13,000, meaning anyone who stuck to the cryptocurrency has made a return of around 13,000%.
It is unclear how many participants still own the Bitcoin. One in ten paid off in the first two weeks and one in four had sold by the time the experiment ended in mid-2017, Christian Catalini, an associate professor at MIT who oversaw the study, told Bloomberg.
Many students sold the bitcoin to pay for things like food and didn’t want $ 100 to be left idle.
“Shortly after the study started, it dropped from $ 100 to $ 50 and a lot of people were freaking out and getting pizza,” Spanjers told Insider.
The 24-year-old MIT graduate and now software engineer knew very little about Bitcoin when she first participated in the experiment.
She didn’t check her holdings that often, but she had to move the bitcoin to new wallets a few times as the previous ones stopped accepting the cryptocurrency or were closed. It was incredible now that she sometimes wondered if it was worth the trouble to change your wallet.
Continue reading: A 22-year-old Wall Street veteran who is now the CEO of a crypto bank told us how the 2008 global financial crisis led her to Bitcoin – and collapsing where the real value of cryptocurrencies lies today
The MIT experiment was started by Dan Elitzer, then an MBA student who had just started the school’s Bitcoin Club, and Jeremy Rubin, a computer science student. The students wanted to “look into the future and see what is possible with this technology,” Elitzer told Bloomberg.
Elitzer now heads the crypto investment firm Nascent, while Rubin is CEO of Judica Inc, a bitcoin research and delivery organization. Professor Catalini co-developed the cryptocurrency Diem, formerly Libra, from Facebook.
Spanjers told insiders they have no plans to sell their bitcoin anytime soon. Instead, she is curious to see how far the investment could go and whether the cryptocurrency will ever be used as a means of payment.
“It’s a bit like going to the casino and playing $ 20 for free,” she told Insider. “It’s just like, ‘No problem, I’ll take the $ 20 free spin and just keep playing with it.’ ‘
If her one-third bitcoin ever exceeded the price of MIT tuition, she would consider selling it.
“That would be like, ‘Okay, MIT has now paid off,” Spanjers said.