media release

SFU is first Canadian university to accept Bitcoin donations

Inaugural donation to support co-op project in India

August 28, 2014
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Contact:
Michael Yeung, president, Simon Fraser Bitcoin Club, 604.762.0986, bitcoin@sfu.ca
Scott Nelson, chief technology officer, dana.io, 604.600.4892, scott.bernard.nelson@gmail.com
Erica Branda, marketing & communications manager, SFU Advancement, 778.782.3353, ebranda@sfu.ca
Dixon Tam, information officer, SFU Public Affairs & Media Relations, 778.782.8742, dixont@sfu.ca

Photo for download: http://at.sfu.ca/bzkWkO

Simon Fraser University is the first Canadian post-secondary school to accept donations in Bitcoin, a digital currency that can be exchanged electronically.

And SFU alumnus Scott Nelson and Simon Fraser Bitcoin Club president Mike Yeung are the university’s first Bitcoin donors, contributing the cash equivalent of $6,000.

“We are embracing Bitcoin because it is innovative, open source, entrepreneurial and fits well with SFU's mission to engage the world,” says Yeung, who hopes his donation will be used by students to spark conversations on how non-profits in developing areas can use the virtual currency.

“Bitcoin can be moulded in ways that can benefit people (in every part of the globe and every segment of society) in many ways,” adds Yeung, who is also the founder and CEO of Saftonhouse Consulting Group. “And those benefits can only be realized when Bitcoin is driven by community efforts and the passion of those with vision and determination – the very traits that SFU breeds and supports.”

SFU students Laurie Macpherson and Lauren Shandley will use the donation for their humanitarian co-op project. The pair is going to Kolkata, India, where they will spend the fall term working for Destiny Reflection, a social enterprise that empowers girls who are victims of human trafficking or who are vulnerable to the crime.

“Bitcoin is an avant garde platform enabling us to directly impact a wider community with our humanitarian efforts,” says Macpherson.

The students’ fall term is also partially funded through support from the SFU Faculty of Health Sciences, the SFU-India Student Mobility Award, the SFU International Co-op Award and CARE Society.

SFU recently launched its 50th anniversary campaign, the Power of Engagement, to raise $250 million for programs that will engage students, increase research capacity, and contribute to the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of our communities.

Nelson and Yeung challenge Bitcoin users around the world in supporting SFU students to engage in meaningful grassroots work where the cost of participation may be prohibitive. Donations can be made here.

“Having been an SFU student, I am thrilled to be helping the university become one of the first institutions in the world to work with digital currency in this way,” says Scott Nelson, chief technology officer at dana.io. “As soon as I heard about the humanitarian project the Bitcoins will be supporting, I knew this would be the ideal way to make a difference.”

Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 130,000 alumni in 130 countries.

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Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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