While we’re all kicking ourselves in the office for not having staked our September salaries on Bitcoin (current value = R7 000 per coin), a Cypriot university has got down to brass tacks and decided to make the most of the crypto-currency’s high value and popularity. Starting next spring, it’s going to start accepting them as payment for higher education courses.
The University of Nicosia in Cyprus currently has about 5 000 students, and will accept Bitcoins at both its main campus and affiliated schools around the country. Dr Christos Vlachos, the university’s CFO, says that the institution believes digital currency is “inevitable” and will transform everything from online commerce to global economic development.
The university also offers an MSc in ‘Digital Currency’. What better way to advertise this course than adopting the most interesting alt.currency around?
Cyprus, of course, is the country which was so badly hit by the 2008 global meltdown and subsequent collapse across the Eurozone that the government imposed a 20% tax on savings earlier this year. It shouldn’t, therefore, come as too much of a surprise that any alternatives to the established financial system are high on the agenda there.
Bitcoin has repeatedly been pitched as a potential currency for pan-African use in mobile money transfers, a sort of M-PESA on steroids. It’s attractive to those who work in development because of its de-centralised nature, which could be used to avoid corrupt payment channels, and its non-existent transaction fees for international remittances. We fully expect Cypriot students to be the ones who will come up with a workable way of doing this.