MIT Bitcoin Experiment Nets 13,000% Windfall For Students Who Held On
This is strong evidence and an example of the power of Bitcoin. At this moment Bitcoin is $37,150 and at the time this MIT experiment started seven years ago, it was about $300. Now, that 1/3rd of a Bitcoin gifted in this experiment is worth $13,000.
Mary Spanjers has a winning lottery ticket, tucked away in a drawer, uncashed. It’s an artifact of her freshman year of college seven years ago at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She took advantage of a free offer of something strange and new: cryptocurrency. One-third of a Bitcoin, to be exact. It was worth US$100.
Since then, this virtual pittance has skyrocketed in value. Before a May selloff, it could have fetched US$20,000 and still trades for about 13 grand — a 13,000 per cent return. “It’s truly remarkable,” Spanjers said of her windfall. “Most of us thought it was a bit of a joke.”
Spanjers, now a 24-year-old software engineer for oil firm Schlumberger in Houston, profited from a grand experiment, the MIT Bitcoin Project. In 2014, every undergraduate on the Cambridge, Mass., campus had the chance to claim fractional ownership of a Bitcoin, a string of code on an online ledger.
About 3,100 students grabbed the offer, which required only that they fill out long questionnaires and go over some educational handouts. They’d then set up a digital wallet, which holds the code that they could exchange for something of value, including cash.