In what could be a world first, a billion-dollar blockchain company donated $500,000 in its own cryptocurrency to help fund the new Advanced Blockchain Research and Development Laboratory at the University of Wyoming.
The University of Wyoming Foundation converted the donation to dollars, thanks to new laws on the Wyoming books that allow it to take donations in cryptocurrency. A former donor who tried to give the University of Wyoming a large donation in bitcoin catalyzed and even lobbied for the law changes.
The donation drew matching funds from the state and required a partial match by the University of Wyoming, ballooning total funding for the lab to more than $1.3 million out of the gate. The donor, IOHK, moved its official headquarters to Wyoming from Colorado in 2019 because of the state’s progressive laws surrounding the worlds of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
“I really love that Wyoming is trying to make my life easier as an entrepreneur,” IOHK co-founder Charles Hoskinson said in a 2019 interview with Wyoming Business Report. “These laws are pretty forward thinking.”
IOHK’s move to Wyoming was done purely by paperwork, and it has no physical presence in the state, despite having 160 contractors and employees spread throughout the world as of 2019.