The MIT Digital Currency Initiative (DCI) has announced more than $100,000 in scholarships and support for underrepresented minorities and women to attend Consensus 2016: Making Blockchain Real.

In collaboration with CoinDesk, the DCI will be selecting 50 Consensus Scholars to attend the event from 2nd to 4th May in New York City. This will be our second year collaborating on a scholarship effort for the conference – we are excited to continue to foster a more diverse community of attendees at Consensus.

A study conducted on “Consumer Attitudes on Bitcoin and Other Virtual Currencies” found that the level of awareness of virtual currencies varies by gender and race. The study found that men were more likely than women to be aware of virtual currency, and Caucasians were more likely to have heard about virtual currency than Latinos and/or African Americans.

Given that we are at the forefront of leveraging cryptocurrencies to address financial inclusion and other important issues, it is important to expose underrepresented minorities to the field and provide access to a broader range of people from different ethnic and economic groups. If cryptocurrencies are to gain widespread adoption, the digital currency community has to reflect our society’s diverse culture and consumer base.

From adoption to identifying use cases to developing applications, we will increase innovation when diverse voices are included in the conversation.

The former president of the National Academy of Engineering, William Wulf, said:

“Sans diversity, we limit the set of life experiences that are applied, and as a result, we pay an opportunity cost – a cost in products not built, in designs not considered, in constraints not understood, in processes not invented.”

The Consensus 2016 scholarships will be offered to women and underrepresented minorities between the ages of 18-25 years old, as well as to graduate students of all ages. The conference has donated $99,950 worth of tickets (worth $1,999 each) to the event and we’ll also be hosting a private networking event for the scholars.

The DCI will be working with the conference to identify students and young professionals to attend the event.

Consensus 2016 is a multi-day conference that will focus on what is “real” in blockchain technology, as well as the real-world applications it enables. The conference will feature thought leaders from within the space, and is being organized by CoinDesk, Digital Currency Group (DCG) and Coin Center.

Click here to apply to become a Consensus 2016 scholar.

Applications are due April 8th, and scholarship recipients will be informed of their acceptance into the program no later than 15th April.

UPDATE (April 6th): The application deadline has now been extended to April 10th.

Diversity image via Shutterstock


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