Press Release

USC Receives Historic Cryptocurrency Gift

Wen Hou’s landmark $1.1 million gift will support clinicians and researchers advancing the diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions

May 24, 2022
Wen Hou’s $1.1 million gift will support clinicians and researchers advancing the diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions.
Wen Hou’s $1.1 million gift will support clinicians and researchers advancing the diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions.

USC received its first gift in cryptocurrency from Wen Hou and his wife, who established the Wen Hou Cardiovascular Medicine Endowment Fund to support the USC Division of Cardiovascular Medicine’s clinical care, research and education. Hou has family friends who have been affected by heart disease, typically assumed to be a condition of the elderly, but now affecting younger, seemingly healthy individuals at higher rates. The funding will give clinicians and researchers critical resources to advance the diagnosis of, and improve treatment for, heart conditions — now and in the future.

Thanh Hoang, Senior Associate Vice President, Keck Advancement, said, “It was a pleasure to work with Wen to structure the gift using cryptocurrency, which had greatly appreciated, to maximize his gift and ultimately the impact on the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.”

Of his gift Hou said, “I have been consistently impressed with the magnitude of impact that Keck Medicine of USC has been able to utilize from their funding. I truly believe in their mission and vision and getting to meet with the clinicians, researchers, staff, and faculty has convinced me further. I am proud to be part of the first cryptocurrency donation. I hope to inspire others to give to philanthropic endeavors near to their hearts.”

The gift ushers in a new era of cryptocurrency giving at USC, which puts it among the small group of universities accepting such gifts, which includes the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, and University of California, Berkeley. USC uses a third-party intermediary, NYDIG, to process virtual currency gifts. Donors can maximize impact by giving cryptocurrency directly to USC via NYDIG, and the full amount directly supports the donor’s passion.

“We are delighted to accept this groundbreaking gift from Mr. Hou, which marks the beginning of a new way for our community to support not only Keck Medicine of USC’s health care endeavors, but any aspect of USC’s wide-ranging educational and research mission,” said Steven D. Shapiro, MD, USC’s Senior Vice President for Health Affairs.

Tracey Vranich, Interim Senior Vice President for University Advancement, said, “We are deeply grateful for Wen’s support of cardiovascular medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. His gift is inspirational, not only because of the impact it will have on patient care, research, and education, but also because it represents a new trend in philanthropic support both nationally and internationally.”

Hou is the Chief Investment Officer for Coincident Capital, based in Las Vegas, and an expert on cryptocurrency trading. Hou moved from China to the United States when he was 10 years old and attended University of California, Irvine. His graduate school, and years of experience as a hardware engineer helped him develop rigorous analytical methods and simulation techniques which have many overlaps with trading of cryptocurrencies and commodities. Over the past decade, he has found many opportunities in cryptocurrency markets.

“My journey has been a long one, and it started with my father’s decision to move to the U.S. He is one of the many inspirations for this gift, and I am thankful to him for giving me the opportunity to thrive in the U.S. and allowing me to reach my potential, which has resulted in this gift” Hou said.

Since the pandemic hit, Hou felt a strong desire to give back to his adopted country. Hou takes a long-term view of medical research and of his relationship with USC.

“I think medical research takes time and resources,” he said. “I foresee building a long-term relationship to be able to fund research programs and see them through to success.”

Hou’s gift will empower researchers to continue work to improve remote monitoring of heart failure, ablation of atrial fibrillation, preventive cardiology, and other subspecialties of cardiology such as imaging and interventional cardiology.

Vivian Mo, MD, Chief Medical Officer for USC Care Medical Group and Interim Chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, said, “Mr. Hou’s generosity will allow the division to foster cardiovascular research amongst faculty and fellows, advance the education of our trainees, and stimulate the division to think outside the box when it comes to furthering our research and education mission. Mr. Hou is really paying it forward with this gift and allowing young minds and experienced faculty to pursue their academic ambitions and further the field of cardiology.”

“Philanthropy is vital to any division’s mission,” said David Peng, MD, MPH, Interim Chair of the Department of Medicine. “It enables our academic units to explore new areas of discovery, particularly through supporting our clinician-scientists early in their careers. Having protected time to generate new ideas and explore new avenues for investigation is vital to building successful research programs. It’s gifts such as Mr. Hou’s that enable us to push science into the future.”

 To learn more about gifting cryptocurrency, please contact Thanh Hoang at