Bobos & Wojaks

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San Diego State University Started Accepting Cryptocurrency

The first cryptocurrency donor to San Diego State University wants to ensure he is not the last.

The Campanile Foundation officials said the Bitcoin donation, received in October, opens the door to comparable contributions and a wide range of never-before-imagined cryptocurrency research and education activities.

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The donation, made by an anonymous alumnus, was made in a round number of satoshis, the fundamental unit of account in Bitcoin, rather than in US dollars, and has a current worth of just under $25,000.

According to David Fuhriman, the chief financial officer of The Campanile Foundation, the SDSU auxiliary will maintain almost all of the contribution in Bitcoin rather than turning it all together to cash as many other colleges have done.

As a result, Fuhriman refers to this as a “quasi-endowment,” which varies from the customary practice of never squandering the principle in an endowment. The Montezuma & Satoshi Cryptocurrencies Endowment, as it is being termed, will allocate 1% of its assets to one or more university programmes to “research uses and uncover how SDSU could connect with cryptocurrency and Bitcoin especially,” according to Fuhriman.

These may include funding for a student internship to conduct additional research on how cryptocurrencies could be “institutionalised” at SDSU. Future applications could include establishing a Recognized Student Organization for crypto enthusiasts at SDSU, as well as developing a framework to allow for greater digital transactions within the campus.

“If the value of bitcoin goes up, then this endowment could last forever,” Fuhriman said. While SDSU’s approach exposes the value to potential losses from a downturn in the cryptocurrency market, “we believe over the long run that this could be a really good benefit to SDSU.”

“This is all new,” he said. “It’s exploratory.”

Created in 2009, digital forms of financial exchange are now worth well over $2 trillion globally. The donor, a former undergraduate student and residential housing helper, also desired that the contribution be kept in digital form.

According to Rajah Gainey, an associate director in the University Relations and Development (URAD) Office of Housing Administration, discussions with the donor began with a scholarship or annual pledge to support housing efforts but quickly shifted to his desire to assist SDSU in adopting new technology more quickly.

“The donor envisions a future where both donors and students understand the value and utility of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in supporting SDSU, including receiving and spending on campus.”

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With the continued global rise in crypto assets, Fuhriman believes SDSU’s entry will help it engage with potential contributors who have “interests in novel areas,” as well as younger donors who may have unorthodox attitudes toward wealth building.

The donor’s initial donation has already enabled other donors to donate using Bitcoin and Ethereum. Following his contribution, four further gifts have supplemented the initial amount. SDSU executes its crypto exchanges through the Kraken platform.