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Bitcoin’s use cases have only been increasing ever since the cryptocurrency came out of the woodwork and continued to rise in popularity. While bitcoin might have started as a currency with a tarnished reputation due to some of the more malicious use cases it received, the increased amount of adoption to date has made it so bitcoin offers a more welcoming environment for real world use cases.
The University of Nicosia in Cyprus was the first in the world to accept bitcoin payments for its tuition, later also offering courses on bitcoin as well as an MSc in Digital Currency. This university’s “investment” in the future of digital currencies and bitcoin proved to be ahead of its time as just recently more and more institutions of higher education have started accepting bitcoin for tuition, in what now seems like a trend.
Bitcoin’s interchangeable nature as well as the lack of special fees for international transfers makes it an alternative payment method that could be especially appealing to international university students. It didn’t take long for American academia to grasp onto its innovation. Less than a year after the University of Nicosia started accepting bitcoin payments, King’s became the first college in the U.S. to also do so.
But this trend has not left the academia of northern Europe untouched. The European School of Management and Technology, a private university offering MBA accreditation, PhDs, and master’s degrees in Berlin started accepting bitcoin in December 2016.
Its CFO, George Garlichs told Business Times in a recent interview that “The driving force behind our decision [to accept bitcoin] was the necessity, the problems experienced by students from far away countries,” Going on to say “It’s simply hard to send money from there over here for various reasons, be it high fees, technical problems or simply capital control, when they [governments] don’t want them [students] to send capital out of the country.”
The university’s event, Blockchain Innovation Awards, managed to attract 400 applications. With high interest and attendance at bitcoin-related events and many students of the university’s programs being from abroad, its CFO expects a rise in bitcoin payments as awareness increases with the university’s bitcoin program just taking its first steps.
But as more and more universities start taking baby steps in adopting bitcoin, it’s worth looking back at the established pioneer that opened the door for bitcoin in academia. The University of Nicosia, being the earliest adopter among academic institutes and having come to be considered the leader in cryptocurrency related studies has been receiving strong acceptance for its bitcoin related programs.
As all of the university’s programs are accepting bitcoin, Irene Patrikios who is coordinating operations of the university’s Blockchain Initiative stated that almost 2% of the university’s student base is paying in bitcoin this year alone; with half of the students enrolled in UNIC’s digital currency master’s program paying in bitcoin.
Future plans of the university include installing an ATM in its campus and a launch of a plethora of blockchain programs; as Patrikios stated that interest for bitcoin has only been increasing since its introduction in the University back in 2014.
In summary, it becomes obvious that more and more universities are increasingly becoming interested in utilizing the benefits of bitcoin for their students. This harvests a pro-bitcoin environment among the up and coming workforce. Such incentives also helps in tearing apart the negatives preconceptions that lingered around bitcoin over the past few years, something that’d work even with students not using bitcoin payments.