Yelp director donates $10,000 in bitcoin to alma mater, will be used for cryptocurrency course


The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts (ASMSA) – a public, two-year residential high school – just received a $10,000 bitcoin donation from the Director of Public Policy at Yelp, Luther Lowe, and will use it to create the first ever dedicated cryptocurrency course of its kind in the United States.

The ASMA Foundation Fund said:

“Lowe’s gift will allow ASMSA to create a computer science seminar focusing on bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and collective computing, the first course focused entirely on the topics in Arkansas and the nation. Like many of ASMSA’s hallmark courses, the class will feature an interdisciplinary approach to the topic. A combination of mathematics, computer science, humanities and economics faculty will collaborate on the course development and delivery. The gift will also support other elements of the school’s computer science, digital learning and outreach programs.”

Lowe, who is a 2001 ASMSA alumnus serving his final year as the school’s Board of Visitors chair, spoke on how he hopes the gift will allow his alma mater to continue offering unique programs and provide students with the opportunity to learn about and be involved in an “exciting and growing field,” and have the chance to learn about the full potential of the block chain technology.

“Having graduated from the institution in 2001, I can attest to the fact that the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts offers one of the best STEM programs for high schoolers in the United States,” Lowe said.

“Given the growing importance of bitcoin and the future applications of block chain, ASMSA students will gain incredibly valuable experience and knowledge in the early stages of this emerging field.”

The course will start in Spring 2015 and will feature an interdisciplinary approach to the topic. It will be developed and delivered by faculty from various departments such as mathematics, computer science, humanities and economics. Although Lowe won’t be involved in course development, he said that based on his first hand experience at the school, he is confident they will do a good job.

Lowe donated the money to the ASMSA Foundation Fund, which is a part of the University of Arkansas Foundation. It’s said to be the first bitcoin donation to a high school within the United States, and is the first bitcoin gift to be accepted by the University of Arkansas Foundation as well.

Per the ASMA Foundation Fund:

“Lowe’s bitcoin gift is part of a larger matching gift. During ASMSA’s commencement ceremony on May 24, Lowe announced an initial $10,000 gift, which he made online while sitting on stage. He challenged parents, alumni and friends of the school to show their appreciation for the opportunities ASMSA offers its students by donating as well. He said he would match up to another $10,000 raised for the school by the end of June. The “20 for 20: Match Challenge” raised $10,666 in addition to Lowe’s initial gift.”

Two universities have accepted bitcoin donations in the past. In February, Blockchain CEO Nic Cary donated $10,000 to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, and a $25,000 donation was made to Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida.


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