A group of MIT alumni are seeing a dizzying increase in the price of Bitcoin they received for free while in school. Some people whisper happy, others regret.
In 2014, Mary Spanjers, then a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), participated in a Bitcoin experiment along with more than 3,000 other students. What they need to do is fill out a questionnaire and go through an educational brochure, then they will get 1/3 of Bitcoin into the e-wallet. The value of the amount of Bitcoin at that time was about 100 USD.
Dan Elitzer, then an MBA, and Jeremy Rubin, a computer science student, were the two creators of the Bitcoin experiment at MIT. Both want to “look to the future and see what this technology can do,” Elitzer told Bloomberg.
Alex Morcos, a programmer on the team that created the experiment, raised about $250,000 to buy Bitcoins for the students.
That test shows how good an investment Bitcoin can be. Currently, 1/3 of that Bitcoin is worth 13,000 USD (equivalent to 300 million VND). This means that those who are still holding this cryptocurrency have received a profit of about 13,000%. It’s Bitcoin that has fallen sharply since May. At its peak, MIT students’ daily free Bitcoins were equivalent to more than $20,000.
There are no concrete figures on how many test participants still own Bitcoin. However, Christian Catalini, an associate professor at MIT, told Bloomberg that by the time the project ended in mid-2017, many students had already sold Bitcoin. Many people sell Bitcoin immediately after receiving it to pay for other expenses like food. At one point, that amount of Bitcoin dropped to just $50.
Spanjers, now 24, a software engineer, said she still keeps her Bitcoins. She also shared that she knew very little about Bitcoin when she participated in the experiment in 2014.
When asked, Spanjers told Insider that she has no plans to sell her Bitcoins. Instead, she’s curious to see how the investment can grow in the future, and if cryptocurrency can be used as a form of payment.
With the exception of a few cases like Spanjers, perhaps not everyone has the patience to keep these assets after all these years. There are people who have missed the opportunity to change their lives. On the other hand, for some, this experiment is the beginning, especially in the cryptocurrency industry.
Elitzer is running Nascent, a cryptocurrency investment firm, while Rubin is currently the CEO of Judica Inc, an organization dedicated to Bitcoin research and implementation. Professor Catalini is on the team that develops Facebook’s Diem cryptocurrency, formerly Libra.
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