Participants in a study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who were gifted free Bitcoin are witnessing a meteoric rise in the value of their crypto asset.
In 2014, the MIT Bitcoin Project offered every undergraduate student in the Cambridge, Massachusetts campus a chance to claim $100 in Bitcoin. All they had to do was complete a questionnaire to receive what was then a larger fraction of the cryptocurrency.
Bloomberg reports that of the 3,100 students that participated in the experiment, one in four participants cashed out their crypto assets when the experiment ended in 2017.
Some participants used their profits to buy a new pair of shoes or food. Others forgot about their holdings and some lost their BTC because they could no longer access their digital wallet where the Bitcoin was stored.
It is not clear how many alumni still have their free Bitcoin from the experiment, but 24-year-old Mary Spanjers, a freshman at the time, says she still has her free cryptocurrency.
As the price of Bitcoin reached new all-time highs this year, the $100 worth of BTC that Spanjers received in 2014 reached as much as $20,000 in value. Even after the price of the crypto asset plummeted in May, the free Bitcoin is still worth around $13,000, marking a 13,000% increase over the last seven years.
Spanjers, who now works as a software engineer for Schlumberger oil firm in Houston, says she almost used her BTC to buy a $35 “Doppler Effect” T-shirt for her dad. Had she not changed her mind, she says the T-shirt could have been worth $4,000 today.
“My dad would have had the most expensive T-shirt ever.”
At time of writing, Bitcoin is trading at $36,156, according to CoinGecko.