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5 crypto companies investing millions in blockchain education - Decrypt | 1

Crypto companies believe the children are the future—shower them with Bitcoin, and let them lead the way.

Millions of dollars worth of crypto have been donated to colleges and universities over the last few years, all in an effort to invest in educating students on the merits of cryptocurrency and to promote blockchain research.

Indeed, universities could receive millions more, if only they did a better job of publicizing the fact that they accept donations in crypto, according to Michael Earley, Head Of Research & Nonprofit Outreach at The Giving Block, a platform that facilitates crypto donations.

“If they made it easier, they’d definitely get a lot more donations,” he told Decrypt.

Alex Wilson, co-founder of The Giving Block, thinks that’s set to change. He expects more universities will soon begin accepting cryptocurrencies once they realize that “many of their recent graduates have made small fortunes investing in cryptocurrency,” he said in an interview. 

Supplying the next generation of builders and entrepreneurs with the resources necessary to explore this burgeoning field could bode well for the blockchain industry. And with The Giving Block’s exciting future in mind, let us consider the ways blockchain has benefited edifices of edification by warmly congratulating some of crypto’s kindest (and tax-efficient!) philanthropists and corporate empires.

IOHK donates $500,000 to University of Wyoming

IOHK, the cryptocurrency company that builds the Cardano cryptocurrency, last week announced it had donated $500,000 worth of Cardano (ADA) to the University of Wyoming to help fund blockchain research. The state of Wyoming is matching the donation, meaning the donation totals $1 million. 

The money will go to the University’s Blockchain Research and Development Lab. In return, Cardano’s brand will be plastered over the lab, and “a lot of Cardano discussions” will take place, Hoskinson added in an ask-me-anything on YouTube

Charles Hoskinson, CEO of IOHK, said he invested in the lab due to Wyoming’s supportive business environment. “Our hope is to have a very substantial presence in Wyoming and write a lot of very good software there,” he added.

He said the donation will not “just fund research into real-world uses of blockchain technology, but will also develop Wyoming further as a talent hub for software engineers, trained in the most advanced software development methods in the world.”

Ripple donates $50 million to 30 universities

Ripple in 2018 committed $50 million to universities, (mostly in fiat), through its University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI), “to support and accelerate academic research, technical development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments,” according to its website. 

It has partnered with 30 universities, including UCL, Princeton, and the University of Texas. Ripple provides money, technology and tools, and its team members collaborate with the universities on “a variety of initiatives.” 

Block.one donates $3 million to Virginia Tech

Block.one, the company behind the EOS blockchain and cryptocurrency, announced in May 2018 a donation of $3 million to Virginia Tech. Chief Technology Officer Dan Larimer, an alumnus of Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering, pledged the funds to help students build skills in blockchain. 

The money will go toward hiring staff for the department and run blockchain courses. Larimer bolted himself to the program, which commenced in fall 2018, as an a lecturer and an advisor. 

Nikolai Mushegian donates $6 million to Carnegie Mellon

At the beginning of the year, Nikolai Mushegian, a computer scientist who worked on MakerDAO, donated 10,000 MKT, currently worth over $6 million, to his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon, in Pennsylvania. (At the time of donation, that was worth $4.2 million). 

He donated the money to get rid of “increasing rent-seeking behavior” from large companies, including banks and tech giants, that he believes have crept into the blockchain space, he wrote in a blog post at the time. 

Before for-profit corporations got involved, crypto development was a safe-space for cryptographers to build new, innovative projects.“Research in the web3 space [was] done by players who automatically put their work into the public domain without a second thought… Nobody wanted to deal with lawyers, everyone wanted to build stuff,” he wrote.

Echolink donates $50,000 worth of BTC to UC Berkeley

And in 2017, UC Berkeley received $50,000 of Bitcoin from the Echolink Foundation, which runs the (now largely lifeless) Echolink, a service that notarizes things like education documents. The donation went to setting up Berkeley’s Blockchain Lab. Steve Chen, founder of EchoLink, was summarily appointed industry co-lead of the Lab, a position he still holds today, according to the Lab’s website. 

Honorable mentions

Holberton School in New Haven received $10,000 of Bitcoin in 2019, and some top universities are leading the charge for crypto donations. MIT’s digital currency initiative mentions it accepts crypto donations (however, it’s not possible to do so on its website, which only accepts payments through PayPal or credit cards—for that, you’ll have to contact them.) Some, like Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University, publicly announce the fact that they’ll gladly take your crypto.


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