FGCU Alumni Create Scholarship Fund Using Bitcoin

May 16, 2014

Zach Katkin, FGCU President Wilson Bradshaw, Harry Casimir
Credit Brian Tietz

Two Florida Gulf Coast University alumni have created an endowed scholarship fund for FGCU students incorporating Bitcoin. They say this will be the first scholarship in the country using the controversial digital currency.

FGCU Alumni Zach Katkin and Harry Casimir created the Atilus Bitcoin Scholarship to be the first of its kind. The scholarship will be awarded to rising juniors and seniors who have a minimum grade point average of 2.75, prove financial need, and are enrolled in a university sanctioned internship. Katkin and Casimir said they wanted to give back to the university to show appreciation for the education in technology they received there. The school helped them establish their web design company, Atilus. They said they think Bitcoin is the “future of money”.

It’s a new form of digitalized currency, an online based network for secure monetary exchanges. Bitcoins can be converted into cash. Katkin and Casimir made half of the $25,000 scholarship donation in the form of Bitcoin. Katkin said he promotes the digital cash because it’s easy to use.

“It’s like taking our money system and its very weird and complicated and making it really nice and simple and easy, less expensive, you know there’s like a whole bunch of advantages and you know technically the way it works is you know kind of in a way complex but in some ways its much simpler than conventional money systems or banking,” said Katkin.

But there are also concerns. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation issued a consumer alert in March after billions of dollars were stolen from a bitcoin website. Katkin said he values the integrity of Bitcoin.