WALTHAM, Mass., June 8, 2021 — Bentley University minted its first NFTs to celebrate Coach Barbara Stevens’ induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are digital collectibles that are bought and sold on blockchains using cryptocurrencies. Bentley is one of the first universities to explore this new technology, creating two NFTs that feature special moments in Stevens’ long and impressive coaching career.
Bentley auctioned one special edition NFT commemorating Stevens winning her 1,000th game, which made her one of only 11 coaches in NCAA history to reach that milestone. The university created another NFT that shares words of wisdom from Stevens, with copies of the digital asset still available in the crypto collectible marketplace OpenSea.
Associate Athletics Director Courtney Finn ’13, MBA ’15, a captain of the 2014 Bentley women’s basketball team that won the NCAA Division II national championship, was one of the first to buy the new Bentley NFT using the cryptocurrency Ethereum. She bought it for .003 Ether, which converts to about $8.33. “I think it’s pretty unique to own a piece of Bentley history in a new form such as an NFT,” said Finn. “Coach Stevens and Bentley University women’s basketball mean a lot to me and it’s exciting to see that the university is honoring her in this way.”
With their popularity and sales soaring this year, many artists, musicians and athletes are issuing NFTs, including Super Bowl champion Tom Brady who started his own NFT company to sell digital memorabilia from sports icons and celebrities.
“This is an incredibly exciting space,” said Finance Lecturer Anurag Wakhlu, who teaches Bentley students about NFTs and cryptocurrency in his Business of FinTech course. “Cryptocurrency and blockchain are here to stay and will have a major impact on our lives. We are just in the first inning of this new technology.”
The technology’s impact is the reason student Alex Kim ’23 created the Bentley Blockchain Association, one of the few student-led blockchain groups in the nation. The group is partnering with the Blockchain Education Network and Boston Blockchain Association this fall to organize industry speakers and reach students who want to engage with this new technology.
“Students want to learn more about blockchain, decentralized finance and cryptocurrency investments,” said Kim, who plans to work as a blockchain consultant after graduation. “They know blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are influencing every industry, especially finance and accounting, where many are headed.”
With companies like JPMorgan Chase recently announcing that it will allow clients to invest in an actively managed Bitcoin fund for the first time, Wakhlu said the future employment opportunities are immense.
“The internships and jobs of the future are in this space, both with new companies focused on cryptocurrency and more traditional organizations that are adopting it,” Wakhlu said. “Just like data science did 10 years ago, this is exploding.”
SOURCE Bentley University