Digital Currency Donors and Crypto-Backed Endowments Fuel Higher Learning
Universities See an Increasing Trend of Cryptocurrency Donors
One growing trend has been the way in which the digital currency ecosystem is fueling education through cryptocurrency donations and backers. For instance, during the first week of January 2019, entrepreneur Mike Novogratz donatedsome of his cryptocurrency profits to Princeton’s Bridge Year Program. The initiative allows students to get sponsored by schools so they can live and study abroad for nine months in areas like China, Bolivia, Senegal, Indonesia, and India. The CEO of Galaxy Digital is a member of Princeton’s class of 1987 who earned a degree in economics.
“Proud to put some of our crypto winnings (2017) to a good cause. A year living in a different culture can change your life for the better. Build bridges, not walls,” Novogratz told his 114,000 followers on Twitter.
Then there’s the list of Stanford’s corporate donors who help fund the school’s engineering section. Stanford’s endowed faculty chairs and fellowship organizations include the Ethereum Foundation, Vechain, and Omisego. During the first week of 2019, Holberton School in New Haven received $10,000 worth of BTC from the Scroll Network’s founder Nathan Pitruzzello. Back in November 2017, the Echolink Foundation donated $50,000 worth of BTC to UC Berkeley. In 2014, the co-founder and vice chairman of Blockchain, Nicolas Cary, donated $10,000 to the University of Puget Sound. Cary’s donation of 14.5 BTC used Bitpay to facilitate the transfer, which would be worth $58,000 today, but the gift was turned into fiat immediately.
The Largest Endowment Funds in Higher Education Are Investing in the Cryptocurrency Ecosystem
Furthermore, universities with huge financial endowments are hedging with cryptocurrency funds as well. Last May, sources familiar with the matter explained that Ivy League school Yale had invested in the cryptocurrency fund Paradigm. Yale’s endowment is the second-largest in higher education and Paradigm is backed by Pantera Capital’s Charles Noyes and Coinbase cofounder Fred Ehrsam. Moreover, on Feb. 21, public documents revealed that the endowment of the University of Michigan has backed a cryptocurrency investment fund supervised by Andreessen Horowitz. Yale and the University of Michigan are not the only endowments investing in cryptocurrency related ventures, as MIT, Stanford and Harvard are knee-deep in digital asset funds as well.
42 Percent of the Globe’s Top 50 Universities Offer Crypto Courses
Tech publication The Information’s research report says that many Ivy League schools are invested in at least one or more crypto related investments. Moreover, a great majority of the universities that have endowments invested in digital assets or have received digital asset donations offer cryptocurrency-related courses. Most of these schools also provide students with academic credits for courses on smart contracts and blockchains. Both the Holberton School in New Haven and Boston’s MIT offer students graduate certificates that are processed using the BTC chain.
Because of the level of innovation involved, higher education and crypto technology go hand-in-hand, and trends over the last few years have shown how they share a symbiotic relationship. This has led to 42 percent of the globe’s top 50 universities offering at least one accredited course that teaches blockchain-related research. A Coinbase research study details that because schools are offering these lessons, students are becoming interested in learning about the digital currency ecosystem. For instance, the report explains that David Yermack, the finance department chair at New York University Stern School of Business, created a blockchain course in 2014 and 35 students registered for the lesson, which is a few less people than many of the school’s traditional electives. The study reveals that by the spring of 2018, Stern had to move the class to the largest auditorium because students registering for the course spiked to 230.