[Update: This article had been edited to include quotes and an explanation from Bruce Fenton, they can be found near the end of the piece.]
When fourteen year old and aspiring engineer Ahmed Mohamed showed the digital clock he created to a teacher, he didn’t expect to find himself in handcuffs, but that is where he found himself when the school decided to call the police and where the entire internet found him, when someone decided to post a picture of the ordeal online.
The picture gave rise to a surge of outrage on the internet, which was followed by a more inspiring outpouring of support. Everyone from President Obama to Mark Zuckerberg has expressed their support, and now you can add the a major Bitcoin figure to the list. Bitcoin Foundation Executive Director Bruce Fenton, has spoken out in support of Mohamed and is putting his bits where his mouth is, offering up a $50,000 scholarship that may increase to $250,000.
It seems that some people might not have been taking him seriously, so he reiterated that he meant what he was saying.
Later, Fenton increased the amount significantly.
Presumably, he received word that other people would like to help, as the jump from $50,000 to $250,000 is quite large and likely wasn’t done on a whim.
We asked Fenton for comment and he provided this quote, giving some insight into his decision to first make the offer, and then to increase it so substantially.
“I think that the national interest in this story makes it a great opportunity to get people to think about anti-Muslim bigotry and what we’ve become as a nation. This should be a wake up call for many Americans to realize something is very wrong when we are arresting 14 year olds with a NASA shirt for building a clock.
I really do feel the [Texas] public school doesn’t deserve him as a student and thought it would be awkward for him to return. Then, I realized he doesn’t even have to return if he doesn’t want to and there was a simple offer I could make to help. Once it became clear many others felt the same way I increased the offer. I hope his family hears about it and considers it and I especially hope that this incident makes people think about what kind of country we are and can be.”
Fenton also indicated that he attended Wilbraham Monson during his childhood.
Wilbraham Monson is a prep school in Massachusetts. No word yet on if Mohamed will accept Fenton’s offer.
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