Your Alma Mater Wants Your Donation—Just Not in Bitcoin

October 17, 2018, 3:22 PM UTC

If you’ve invested in Bitcoin and want to share the cryptocurrency with your alma mater for a donation, you might face some trouble.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, the University of Puget Sound is believed to be the first in the country to have accepted a Bitcoin donation from an alumnus. The college wasn’t sure how to accept it at first and nearly balked at accepting Bitcoin. But the person who donated the Bitcoin, Nicolas Cary, co-founder and vice chairman of Blockchain, a site to create wallets for Bitcoin, was able to help.

Bitcoin has quickly become an attractive currency choice for people around the globe. Instead of paying in cash, check, or credit card, they instead turn to the cryptocurrency and send it to the recipient. The problem for colleges and other organizations, however, is that they might not have a Bitcoin wallet ready to accept the cryptocurrency. And even then, the value is changing each day, so while a donation might be worth $10,000 today, it could be worth less or more, the next day. The college ultimately needs to determine whether to cash out or stick with it.

According to the Bloomberg report, Cary donated 14.5 Bitcoin, or the equivalent of $10,000, in 2014. He told Bloomberg that he held several conversations with the school about Bitcoin before it accepted the donation. Ultimately, the school decided to sell the cryptocurrency immediately rather than risk it on the exchange. It proved to be a bad idea: as time went on and Bitcoin’s value rose, those 14.5 Bitcoin would have been worth as much as $280,000. Today, the Bitcoin would be worth more than $93,000.