Today we see Bitcoin as a door for savings, for investments or as a bubble. Everyone has their opinion. But in 2014, it was an invention that still did not generate adhesions or repulsions.
It was, let’s say, anything.
Except for a few innovators like Jeremy Rubin.
Bitcoin in the hands of a 2014 MIT student
At the time, Jeremy Rubin was a Computer Science student at MIT. At the age of 19, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office had accused him of being “a cyber criminal” who was “installing malware on people’s computers.”
He had simply launched a Bitcoin mining program called Tidbit. In the end, he was acquitted of the charges.
But the more he pushed the use of Bitcoin at MIT, the more he realized that his peers weren’t really stimulated by the cryptocurrency. So he supported an experiment carried out by other high school students, Christian Catalini and Catherine Tucker.
The Bitcoin Experiment.
What to do with $ 100 in cryptocurrencies?
What did it consist of? He gave several people $ 100 worth of Bitcoin, on the condition that they open their digital wallets themselves. In addition, they had to inform what they would do with the money, all to do a follow-up.
A total of 3,108 undergraduate students benefited.
The must is that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has analytical people, who are at the forefront in the use of innovations, as was Bitcoin at that time.
But no, for many it was just another coin. Free money. Or just a game.
Thus, Jeremy Rubin was tracking the destination of those $ 100 per student. One, named Van Phu, currently a software engineer and co-founder of cryptocurrency platform Floating Point Group, spent it on sushi.
“I spent a lot of my crypto buying sushi,” Phu revealed in a CNBC note.
He was not the only one who did it, as told by Sam Trabucco, who also participated in the experiment and is now a digital asset manager. “It was the only restaurant in Cambridge that accepted Bitcoin at the time, and it was a fairly popular place,” he recalls .
A door to the future
Other people multiplied the investment playing poker. But, for a good part of the students, this experience served for the future.
This is the case of Trabucco, who today is director of Alameda Research, managing more than a billion dollars in digital assets. “If I didn’t already have an account, I’m not sure if I would have ended up doing this,” Trabucco said, in conversation with CNBC.
One in ten people spent their money in the first two weeks after receiving it. By 2017, when tracking ended, one in four spent it.
How much would a person currently have who in 2014 received $ 100 in cryptocurrency?
Over $ 14,000 (imagine $ 14,000 worth of sushi). In total, Rubin would have distributed more than 44 million dollars among the 3,108 students.
So we see that saving and the vision of the future are not for everyone. Regardless of whether you are from MIT or from any other institution.