University of British Columbia students form Bitcoin club

Founder of UBC Bitcoin Club hopes B.C.’s largest university will accept tuition payments in Bitcoin

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      In the future, Willson Cross believes many consumers will pay for things in Bitcoin every day.

      Cross is the 21-year-old founder and president of the brand-new UBC Bitcoin Club, which was established in September at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus.

      “Bitcoin doesn’t have necessarily the potential to be just a virtual currency, but we also believe it has the potential to be the future of finance,” the third-year economics student said during an interview at the Georgia Straight offices.

      With the formation of the student group—which so far has 15 members—B.C.’s largest university is following in the footsteps of Simon Fraser University and the B.C. Institute of Technology, which already have Bitcoin clubs.

      Like those organizations, the UBC Bitcoin Club’s primary goal is to educate students about the fast-growing cryptocurrency.

      According to Cross, the club’s plans include digital currency literacy events, merchant adoption and mentorship programs, and a small business incubator funded by alumni and private money.

      Cross hopes to see UBC eventually accept Bitcoin payments for tuition and bookstore sales.

      In August, SFU became the first Canadian university to accept Bitcoin donations. It’s also considering taking Bitcoin at its campus bookstores and dining services in a pilot project.

      Meanwhile, a UBC representative informed the Straight in July that the university had no plans to accept Bitcoin for tuition or services.

      Cross pointed out that there’s lots of Bitcoin activity happening at top universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Pennsylvania State University.

      “UBC, it’s in their best interest to bridge that gap with the future and get with the times, so to speak,” Cross said.

      He also wants to see the UBC Alma Mater Society and businesses in the Student Union Building embrace Bitcoin. Cross said that, under AMS rules, the club can’t technically hold funds in Bitcoin.

      To Cross, Bitcoin is a perfect fit for UBC because it lies at the intersection of many academic fields—such as computer science, economics, finance, law, and marketing—and communities.

      Over the coming months, he plans to tell his fellow students about the cryptocurrency’s “accessibility and convenience”.


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      Oct 2, 2014 at 5:55pm

      I hire a great number of economics majors in my line of work. Bitcoin questions are how we tease out candidates that are able to see the signal through the noise and hype.

      Bitcoin is the noise.

      I sense that UBC might have some pretty gaping curriculum issues...

      Raveen Bains

      Oct 2, 2014 at 6:44pm

      The likely hood that UBC will accept a non-regulated currency such as bitcoin is next to nothing. The tuition revenue received from UBC is re-invested and most banks do not recognize bitcoin as currency. There will be another currency that will overlap bitcoins popularity in the near future Unless a currency is regulated only then is it recognized and worthy of tendering.


      Oct 3, 2014 at 2:57am


      Bitcoin is a fusion of computer science and economics, and it represents a breakthrough in both fields. It's the world's first decentralized global ledger that enables something novel: a store of value that can be transmitted from anyone to anyone on the internet without the need of an intermediary.

      You would do well to educate yourself on the implications of this technology and social phenomenon, if only to stop yourself from passing on forward-looking candidates, the very people you will need to remain competitive as blockchain technology transforms economics in the coming decades.


      Oct 3, 2014 at 5:04pm


      I have graduate degrees in both fields. I am aware of the usefulness of shared ledgers - what am I unaware of is why we're trading vast sums of energy (cost of powering compute units) and vast sums of otherwise useful compute cycles (256+ times the power of the Top 500 supercomputers combined on an asset class that has zero governmental legitimacy as a unit of exchange.

      If bitcoin were a benign fad, sure whatever, but when it competes with - and wins - against other useful uses for computation cycles, for say curing cancer, I have a real problem with.

      There is a difference between being an Austrian economist and being Alex Jones. Bitcoin users (although not their designers) fall squarely into the Alex Jones camp.

      Steven Hooey

      Oct 5, 2014 at 7:19pm

      It's obvious to me that the author is in the Bitcoin business judging by the amount of articles penned on Bitcoin, and his general appetite for spreading the pyramid to the Straight's readership.

      Bitcoin is a liquid stock that can now be used to pay for material things so long as those who use it keep growing the demand. Bitcoin will never surpass dollars because, well, simply put it is measured in dollars.

      Keep spreading growing the pyramid boys! We're getting closer every day!

      Martin Dunphy

      Oct 5, 2014 at 7:57pm


      The writer is not in "the business". He is the only one here who really understands Bitcoin.