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University of Pennsylvania Receives $5 Million Donation in Bitcoin

The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) has received a $5 million donation in Bitcoin (BTC), which it has already exchanged for fiat.

It has been reported that according to the university, an anonymous benefactor gifted UPenn’s Wharton School of Business $5 million in Bitcoin, around 118.46 BTC as of May 20, which will be used to support the Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance.

John Zeller, the Senior Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations at UPenn, said that the university immediately liquidates all crypto donations, large and small.

He added:

“We sell it the moment it’s received, the university still had the option of HODLing.”

However, the $5 million donations, reportedly one of the largest UPenn has received, went through crypto investment firm New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG). While the university can accept other cryptocurrencies, its giving page states it requires a minimum $10,000 donation.

Nowadays, diamond hands are rarer than ever. One U.S. university, after receiving $5M in Bitcoin as a gift, sold it immediately after. (Reporting via @onceatraveler) — Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) May 21, 2021

Zeller said that UPenn was not treating crypto as an investment vehicle, rather just a new way to make payments. It’s unclear if the recent market volatility played any role in the university’s decision to not HODL the crypto asset. The university accepted its first cryptocurrency donation from an alumnus in January. While not made in crypto, former MakerDAO contributor Nikolai Mushegian also gave his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University, $4 million last year to develop a research program for decentralized applications.

Thus, students at the Wharton School of Business have the opportunity to study the digital currency ecosystem through online programs on financial technologies. One such course features lectures and case studies on payments, crypto, blockchain technology, and crowdfunding, among others.



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