Penn State Students Launch Bitcoin Club with Grand Ambitions

The founders say there’s more to digital currencies than personal profit. How about a little philanthropy?

AccessTimeIconFeb 24, 2014 at 2:36 p.m. UTC
Updated Feb 21, 2023 at 3:46 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

While many see cryptocurrencies merely as a means to personal gain via mining or investment, a group of students at Penn State University think that digital currencies can also offer a more philanthropic way of doing business.

To that end, Penn State University Bitcoin Club has been created by six ambitious young students with a strong positive vision for the future of bitcoin.

The club was co-founded by Patrick Cines and Ryan McCabe, both investors in bitcoin and litecoin, and who met on reddit.

McCabe has invested about $2,500, which he expects to make back over the next two months. In turn, Cines has spent $1,800 on an upmarket case for the miner in his dorm room, and says he has made a significant profit from mining – which he spends on computer gear.

The club isn’t about making profit, though, and the pair are keen to stress that it is not their aim to encourage new members into mining or investment. Instead, they have more philanthropic goals.

Encouraging bitcoin business

Penn State University Bitcoin Club
Penn State University Bitcoin Club

With their mix of business and tech backgrounds, they are joining a new generation of entrepreneurial bitcoiners using the digital currency for business development.

In the short term, their aims for the club include using bitcoin to help small businesses grow, said Cines:

“Small businesses are one of the cornerstones of America, so it would only be fair that we continue to support small businesses by helping them prosper.”

They plan to find help small businesses integrate bitcoin into their finances in order to expand revenue. Promoting the acceptance of digital currencies is also part of their plan.

“I think that, in the future, bitcoin will be further integrated into our society. It is only inevitable that we have a global currency to advance a continuing globalized economy,” said Cines. He added:

“As of now, a lot of regulatory agencies are cracking down on bitcoin. That’s why countries like the United States have to show the world that bitcoin should be viewed not as a threat, but an asset.”

Thinking big

The club’s not just about helping businesses, either. McCabe says they remain true to bitcoin’s idealistic roots: “You do have to have some sort of liberal mindset, because it is still a new thing that people don’t understand. You have to be open to new concepts.”


“As a long-term goal, we want to help other philanthropic organisations by donating bitcoin,” he added.

One of their aims is to eventually help support the annual Penn State ‘THON’ – a dance marathon which last year raised $12.8m for the Four Diamonds Fund, a paediatric cancer charity.

The pair are even converting their parents to bitcoin. McCabe convinced his dad to invest $1,300 in a mining computer at Christmas, which has already returned $550. “It’s making much more than the bluechips they’re invested in,” said Cines.

The pair are optimistic about the future. Cines has big dreams about where the digital currency might go next.

“I’d love to see the day when I can pay my tuition fees in bitcoin, or add money to my meal points by scanning a QR code and sending bitcoin.”

If their ambition is anything to go by, that day could be closer than we think.

Penn State image via Shutterstock


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.