The University of Florida’s new finance club is cracking the code to the mysterious world of cryptocurrency and its place in society.
Florida Cryptocurrency and Alternative Assets Club is a new club established this fall by its three founding members: John Cuttitta, the president, Aidan Moran, the vice president and Taysir Ismail, the treasurer. The club aims to bring awareness to cryptocurrency blockchain technology and digital assets to students at UF.
Cryptocurrency is a digital form of money that allows for a currency exchange without the risk of theft or fraud. They replace their own form of money that investors can purchase through crypto exchanges.
The popularity of cryptocurrency has been rising over the past year with bitcoin, a currency created in 2009 that saw surges of interest starting in 2017.
Cuttitta, a second-year finance major at UF, got the idea to start the club from his interests in cryptocurrencies and experiences of creating his own wallet, buying his own bitcoin and researching investments. After reading about this form of digital investing from articles and hearing about it on television, Cuttitta decided to make his first purchase of cryptocurrency in December 2020.
Cuttitta wanted to create a place where he and others could meet to discuss crypto projects. He believes it's going to change society "for the better."
Alex Kruljac, the club’s director of education and a fourth-year business administration student at UF, explained what students would gain from joining this club.
"We're just trying to give the kids at UF a foundation of what's to come in the future in this space because we all share a belief that it's going to be changing a lot of things," he said.
Kruljac said members would learn how to open a cryptocurrency wallet, and be taught about different investment projects.
The club will analyze projects that have a portfolio with fake money behind them to see how that grows over time. Kruljac said the club also hopes to get an endowment from the University at some point to invest in projects as a group.
Even though the club is focused on finances, Moran said every major is welcome to join. The second-year finance major at UF said he got an overwhelming response of interest from a diverse range of students. He said those interested ranged from computer science to agricultural science majors, foreign exchange students and an even ratio of male to female students.
Cuttitta added to what he hopes this club will bring to people, such as the best platforms for purchasing cryptocurrency with the least amount of service fees.
"We want to really create an environment where we can share our passion for cryptocurrency, what we believe, with our fellow UF students,” he said. “Hopefully, they can learn from us just as much as we learn from them.”
Florida Cryptocurrency and Alternative Assets Club had their interest meeting Sept. 9 on zoom at 6:30 p.m. and had a turnout of around 50 members.
After seeing a post about the club on social media, Vishwa Ramanakumar, a mathematics and computer science double major at UF, attended the interest meeting.
Ramanakumar was attracted to the club because it includes all majors. He knew friends who were already in the club and in STEM fields, which made him feel more confident joining.
“It just seemed like it was a safe space for people from all different backgrounds to talk about this stuff and not have to be an expert about cryptocurrency and feel afraid about not being really good at this stuff,” Ramanakumar said. “What I gleaned from the meeting was, the whole purpose of the entire club is to introduce this concept to a lot more people outside of finance, which I liked.”
Their first official semester meeting will be on Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m., and it will take place in room 2355 at the Reitz Union.
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Alexis Carson is a third-year journalism major and staff writer with the Avenue. In her free time, she loves watching horror movies and going to concerts.