L. Rafael Reif, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, issued a statement on Saturday expressing support for the MIT students behind the start-up Tidbit, which involves the controversial alternative currency Bitcoin. New Jersey authorities are investigating the company, and have demanded extensive documents (including code) from the students. Some at MIT were concerned last week that the institute was not backing the students, a concern reflected in the continued soul-searching at MIT over the suicide of Aaron Swartz. The letter from Reif said MIT was helping the students, and their lawyers. And Reif said he was asking MIT officials to create a system so that MIT student entrepreneurs could find "independent legal advice" when they need it.
"I want to make it clear that the students who created Tidbit have the full and enthusiastic support of MIT," Reif wrote. He said that the case "highlights issues central to sustaining the creative culture of MIT."