Smeal student, bitcoin advocate wins trip to London Cryptocurrency Conference

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State Smeal College of Business student Patrick Cines will fly to London next month to attend the Inside Bitcoins: The Business of the Cryptocurrency World conference, thanks to a Twitter contest sponsored by CheapAir.com.

The online travel agency sponsored the contest to mark its surpassing of $1.5 million in sales in bitcoin. Cines won with a tweet expressing his interest in helping college students in the United Kingdom set up Bitcoin clubs at their institutions.

Cines already has much experience in forming organizations around Bitcoin. Early this year, along with fellow Penn Stater Ryan McCabe, Cines founded the Penn State Bitcoin Club, which quickly grew to an executive team of seven and a total membership of about 20 students.

But Cines and his fellow club members didn’t stop at Penn State. They began connecting with other universities to create the much wider College Cryptocurrency Network, for which Cines serves as director of Mid-Atlantic relations. There are currently more than 70 chapters spanning six continents.

In addition, Cines will speak at Penn State’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, to be held later this semester. The Small Business Development Center’s Linda Feltman asked him to participate because of Bitcoin’s potential applications in small business.

Cines and his executive team have big plans for the upcoming academic year. They plan to bring in monthly speakers and also hope to run a bitcoin hackathon. Additionally, he is currently working with Penn State’s Office of Annual Giving to get them to accept bitcoin donations.

“We also want to reach out to area small businesses and help them increase their profits by assisting them in setting their business up to accept bitcoin,” said Cines. He is currently working with a bitcoin payment processor to allow any business the opportunity to reduce their transactions fees to 0 percent.

Though he says bitcoin won’t replace paper currency, Cines believes that cryptocurrency will continue to evolve as a legitimate alternative as our society grows increasingly global.

“Everything has changed due to the Internet, but your standard bank transfers still take three to four days,” he said. “Bitcoin has the potential to change all that.”

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Last Updated August 28, 2014