The first cohort of recipients of an artificial intelligence grant program backed by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin was announced on Wednesday, with Buterin thanking the Shiba Inu community for making the fellowships possible.
“Big thanks to the Shiba Inu community, whose cryptocurrency made these fellowships possible,” Buterin said in response to a tweet announcing the fellows.
Called the Vitalik Buterin Ph.D. Fellowship in AI Existential Safety, the grant is for students starting Ph.D. programs in 2022 in the United States, U.K. or Canada who plan to work on AI existential safety research.
Grant fellows also include existing Ph.D. students who otherwise wouldn't have funding to work on AI existential safety research.
The program will fund eight students for five years of their research for a Ph.D. with extension funding possible, according to a post. The annual funding will cover tuition, fees and the stipend of the student’s Ph.D. program up to $40,000, as well as a fund of $10,000 that can be used for research-related expenses such as travel and computing.
A postdoctoral fellowship, another grant program, will provide funding for one student with an annual $80,000 stipend and a fund of up to $10,000.
The fellowships have little to do with Shiba Inu, but Buterin’s likely acknowledged the meme coin’s community because Shiba Inu developers had sent 50% of the token's total supply last year to remove it from circulation. The tokens amounted to billions of dollars at the time.
Buterin, however, didn’t sell the tokens for a neat profit. Instead, he chose to burn or destroy 90% of the tokens sent to his wallet and donated the remaining to charity.
That included a 50 trillion SHIB donation, valued at over $1 billion, at the time to India Covid Crypto Relief Fund, a nonprofit set up by the Indian government to provide care to citizens during the pandemic.
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