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University Gets $10,000 Donation... In Bitcoins

With Bitcoin gaining mainstream acceptance, the University of Puget Sound announces it's received its first donation in the virtual currency—possibly the first in higher education.

University Gets $10,000 Donation... In Bitcoins

[Image: Flickr user antanacoins]

Armed with Bitcoin, one can buy a ticket to space, show their support for the Sacramento Kings, and even withdraw cash in real life. As one Bitcoin entrepreneur learned, you can also donate to your alma mater in the virtual currency.

Nicolas Cary, CEO of the Bitcoin wallet Blockchain, has donated 14.5 Bitcoins, worth $10,000, to the University of Puget Sound, the school announced Wednesday. A recipient of scholarships and loans, Cary graduated in 2007 with a bachelor's from Puget Sound's Business Leadership Program, and his donation goes toward the university's campaign to raise $125 million to support financial aid, academic programs, research, facilities, and other initiatives. The school has raised more than $109 million since 2007.

When Cary contacted his alma mater about making a Bitcoin donation, the school wasn't prepared to accept it. Sherry Mondou, vice president for finance and administration, said even donations in foreign currencies were rare for the university.

"We had not anticipated a gift of digital currency, and our gift acceptance policy was silent on it," Mondou told Fast Company. "Nic's gift gave us the opportunity to learn about Bitcoin and the process for accepting donations in this form." Cary helped answer the university's questions about Bitcoin and introduced it to the payment processing company BitPay, which was used for the transaction. "We performed our due diligence, and he stood ready to help in any way he could," she added.