MIT’s Kendall Square bookstore might be the first campus retail shop in the country to accept Bitcoins from students.
“In the college industry, to my knowledge, I believe we are,” said Jerry Murphy, president of the The Harvard Cooperative Society, the corporate branch that manages the MIT COOP and the Harvard COOP in Harvard Square.
Murphy said the MIT COOP just rolled out their new Bitcoin acceptance program following a partnership with a payment processing company called BitPay, making them the first major university bookstore to add the digital currency as a method of purchasing college textbooks and logo merchandise in the U.S.
“Part of our decision to do this was based on the fact that we have had a Bitcoin exchange in our store for six months now,” said Murphy. “MIT has a reputation of being on the cutting edge of a lot of things, and the student body has an interest in Bitcoin. All these factors came together and we said, ‘let’s give it a shot and see if it makes sense.’”
While the MIT COOP sells campus-related products like T-shirts, sweatshirts, textbooks, and other supplies, the store is not run by the school. Murphy said it was an independent decision to team up with BitPay, and the systems were up and running Thursday morning.