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$1.3 Million in Cryptocurrency Donated by 2014 Alumni to Carnegie Mellon University

3,200 MKR Tokens donated on the last day of the year to fund masters and PHD research


On the final day of 2019, approximately $1.3 million in cryptocurrency was donated by Carnegie Mellon Class of 2014 Alumni Nikolai Mushegian in the form of 3,200 MKR tokens (Valued at around $430 USD each). This is likely the largest known and publicly acknowledged donation of cryptocurrency to a higher educational institution for 2019.

Furthermore, he has informally committed to donate an additional 6,800 MKR tokens over the next 1-3 years (approximately $2.9 million USD at today's market value).


What is MKR?

MKR is a cryptocurrency governance token as part of the Maker DAO on the Ethereum Blockchain to minimise the price volatility of the stablecoin DAI (A fully collateral backed cryptocurrency token where it’s value is kept predictable compared the US Dollar).


Why donate cryptocurrency to Carnegie Mellon University?

According to a blog post written by Nikolai on January 1, 2020:

I have two motives for this donation. The first is simply that it’s good karma. The second is that I am very concerned about the increasing rent-seeking behavior from some of the big players in this space, and also from existing banks and tech giants.

Not only is he donating to his alma mater, but also supporting a cause that he supports strongly. We think it is far more likely that cryptocurrency donors will donate to their alumni association as part of annual giving if their university teaches courses on blockchain, cryptocurrency or associated topics. Universities that teach these topics, have cryptocurrency clubs, or are located close to a hub of cryptocurrency or blockchain activity are those that are most likely to receive donations of cryptocurrency.

By making this donation on the last day of 2019, the donor will also be able to write off the donation as part of his 2019 tax return, something that anyone who has donated cryptocurrency this year is also able to do. Incidentally, 2019 is the first tax year to explicitly mention cryptocurrencies as part of the 1040 form.


What other colleges and universities have received cryptocurrency donations?

A wide variety of higher education institutions have received donations in both fiat and cryptocurrency from those in the cryptocurrency industry including:

  • San Francisco State University: $25 Million USD worth of Ripple to San Francisco State University School of Business in April 2019

  • Princeton University (Center for Information Technology Policy): A transformative amount from ‘87 Alumni Mike Novogratz to the Bridge Year Program + a share of the $50 million USD donated by Ripple to 17 universities.

  • University of California, Berkeley: $50,000 USD worth of Bitcoin by Echolink Foundation, USD Donation by cryptocurrency company Ripple

  • Holberton School New Haven: $10,000 USD worth of Bitcoin by founder of Scroll Network

  • University of Puget Sound: $10,000 USD worth of Bitcoin by Alumni

  • MIT: Undisclosed donation by cryptocurrency exchange Bitmex, USD Donation by Ripple

  • University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School), Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Australian National University College of the Law, Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), Fundação Getulio Vargas (Brazil), International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H), Korea University, University of Texas at Austin (McCombs School of Business)University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University College London, University of Luxembourg, University of Nicosia (Cyprus), University of Oregon, University of Waterloo (Canada): 17+ Universities who received a $50 million USD Donation by cryptocurrency company Ripple


How can my college receive cryptocurrency donations?

Donations of cryptocurrency by alumni to their Alma Mater are on the rise, and while some donors may reach out ahead of time to donate, for most donors, this is unlikely to happen, and without having a simple, user friendly and tax efficient way to donate, most potential donors will look elsewhere. The Giving Block works with higher education institutions to implement a quick and easy cryptocurrency fundraising solution, and develop a cryptocurrency fundraising strategy.


To learn more about donating and accepting cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Zcash, Litecoin and more to colleges, universities and other higher education institutions contact the team at The Giving Block today.