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University of Pennsylvania Receives $5M Bitcoin Donation to Support Financial Innovation at Wharton

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The University of Pennsylvania has received an anonymous $5 million bitcoin donation — the largest cryptocurrency gift the University has ever received — which will be used to support the intersection of finance and technology at The Wharton School.

According to a University announcement, the bitcoin donation will support the growth of programs at Wharton’s Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance, which champions research, collaboration, and global impact in fintech. 

“This investment marks a new era and mode of giving to the University and lifts up opportunities for students to become tomorrow’s leaders in finance,” Wharton Dean Erika James said in the announcement. “The blend of innovative philanthropy with the outcomes this promises for students makes this a truly exciting moment for the Wharton community.”

The Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance was first established in 2019 with the support and partnership of 1991 Wharton undergraduate alumnus Ross Stevens, to provide students with the opportunity to become immersed in the digital currency ecosystem and build expertise in related areas such as blockchain, crowdfunding, Big Data and robo-advisors.

The Center’s mission, which is to ensure that innovations in finance make the greatest positive contributions to communities across the globe, can be further bolstered through this donation, University President Dr. Amy Gutmann said. 

“I am deeply grateful for this creative and groundbreaking gift to support the important work of the Stevens Center,” Gutmann said. “At the Center, the intersection of finance and technology is being reinvented through research, exploratory projects, and engagement with industry leaders, to make the greatest global contributions.”

Through the Stevens Center, students can fortify classroom learning with guidance from Wharton faculty and real-world insights from financial institution leaders, to learn to analyze how technology is transforming the business models of financial services through the collection and curation of innovative datasets. 

The Center also offers curricular opportunities for fintech research, and provides career assistance to on-campus clubs, including Wharton FinTech — the first-ever student-led fintech initiative that aims to promote fintech within the Wharton community and beyond.

Wharton has embraced the fintech revolution long before the formation of the Stevens Center, describing it as “the next big deal at Wharton” in a 2015 Wharton Magazine article

Maggie Fedorocsko
Maggie Fedorocsko is a freelance writer and editor who recently graduated from Drexel University. When she’s not wordsmithing, she enjoys reading, hiking, camping, cooking, and buying far too many antiques and plants for her quaint Philadelphia apartment.