An Australian company has launched a ‘bitcoin-based scholarship’ with an initial essay competition to answer the question: “Digital currencies and the future: will bitcoin change the world?”
Sydney-based Bit Trade Australia, a bitcoin buy and sell business (similar to Coinbase but for Australian users), is sponsoring the contest, billed as “Australia’s First Digital Currency Academic Scholarship-Competition”.
The prizes, while not enough to put anyone through university at November 2013 bitcoin prices, are adequate to spur their winners’ further engagement with the bitcoin world: 7 BTC for the first prize (or a minimum of AU $1,000 equivalent should bitcoin’s value plummet), 3 BTC for the second prize and 2 BTC for third.
Entrants must be based in Australia or New Zealand, and should submit essays of 1,500-2,000 words. Entries opened on 1 November 2013 and will close on 31 January 2014.
“We’re incredibly excited to be able to facilitate education and knowledge sharing around bitcoin,” said Ronald Tucker, Bit Trade Australia’s Head of Marketing.
“The idea for the essay competition came out of our desire to raise awareness around the security of bitcoin versus traditional payment methods such as credit card transactions and cash. As more businesses adopt bitcoin in Australia we’re excited to share people’s thoughts and insight into how this will impact the Australian economy.”
Tucker said the initial idea to hold a contest came from Hugo O’Connor, Bit Trade Australia’s Markets and Exchanges Analyst and local bitcoin evangelist.
O’Connor also runs Joostice, a local juice bar and one of the only physical venues in Sydney known to accept bitcoin (along with bitcoin meetup venue The Old Fitzroy Pub).
Bit Trade Australia has been around since April 2013, and claims to place emphasis on ease of use, speed, and transparency.
It sells bitcoins to customers via over-the-counter bank deposits made at major Australian banks, and aims to be low-cost with commissions of 4.9% to buy and 2.9% to sell (based on a weighted average of the three largest bitcoin exchanges).
Its current base team of five is set to double soon as it moves further afield into bitcoin microloans, bitcoin accounting tools and new operations in New Zealand and Canada.
The company is also a founding member of the ‘Australian Digital Currency Commerce Association’, Australia’s first digital currency chamber of commerce, and will work with the recently-formed Australian Bitcoin Foundation chapter.
The essay competition is aimed at university students of economic, finance, computer and even philosophy disciplines, but is also open to bloggers, tech writers or anyone else with an interest in bitcoin.
A panel of bitcoin experts will judge the contest. They include Max Kaye, founding member of the Australian Bitcoin Association, Professor Dick Bryan from the University of Sydney Economics department (and author of Capitalism With Derivatives: A Political Economy of Financial Derivatives, Capital and Class). A third judge from the media world will be confirmed soon.
Entries can be submitted through Bit Trade Australia’s website and full competition terms and conditions are available online.