The Wharton School Will HODL its Largest-Ever Donation Received in Bitcoin


The University of Pennsylvania has received its largest-ever donation of $5 million in Bitcoin.

The university hasn’t disclosed the donor's identity, but the donation has been made to support the activities of a research center at its Wharton school of business.

The donation came at a time when the price of Bitcoin crashed 54% this week to as low as $30,000 from its all-time high. Though the donation was received a few weeks back, John Zeller, Penn’s senior vice president for development and alumni relations, is unperturbed by this volatility.

“There is protection for us on the downside,” Zeller said in an interview. “We have what we needed to support the budget, and we’ll just see where it goes in the future.”

Typically, colleges sell gifts like stocks and real estate right away to eliminate the risks with holding and managing assets.

But this time, the university is not doing any such thing as it will allow Penn to capture the gains in the price of Bitcoin. This is unlike the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which has accepted Bitcoin donations since 2016 and reportedly liquidated its gifts received in the cryptocurrency immediately.

The majority of the $5 million donation, which is still held in BTC, will be monetized over the coming years to meet the budgetary needs of the Stevens Center, which promotes education and research in the field of financial technology.

Interestingly, Stevens Center is named after Ross Stevens, the chief executive officer of the $10 billion alternative asset manager, Stone Ridge Asset Management, a company invested in the cryptocurrency market and whose subsidiary NYDIG is a Bitcoin management firm.

“The beauty of this is the donor wanted to use Bitcoin as a vehicle and also had an interest in promoting it,” Zeller said. “For us, it is a bit of an experiment.”

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