In 2014, the University of Cumbria announced that it was accepting the digital currency, bitcoin, from its students as a form of payment, enabling students to pay for two degrees on complementary currencies through alternative means.
At the time, the cost of one bitcoin was around $960 and at the start of 2017 the price of one unit of the cryptocurrency had surpassed the $1,000 mark for the first time in three years.
According to professor Jem Bendell, founder of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) at the University of Cumbria, the reason the price of bitcoin has been increasing is because hedge funds are utilizing the cryptocurrency to expand their assets and as a way of sending money abroad cheaply.
Speaking to the News and Star, he said:
The main lesson of this price is wider than bitcoin. It shows that private currencies are here to stay.
Bitcoin Accepted Here
Since bitcoin first entered the scene it has steadily risen in popularity for several uses cases such as money transfers, banking, and food and drink.
Being used as an alternative form of payment for university fees is another area that the currency is gaining traction in.
In 2014, the University of Nicosia became the world’s first by offering a Master of Science (MSc) in Digital Currency.
In Australia, Flinders University became the first educational establishment in the country to accept the cryptocurrency from its students in a pilot project.
Over the last two years, more educational institutions have also jumped on board by allowing students who hold bitcoin to pay for their courses.
Late last year, ESMT Berlin, a state-accredited German private business university, became the first to accept the digital currency as a form of payment for everything including tuition. As a currency that enables fast money transfers worldwide, the school hailed the currency as ‘the most well-developed blockchain application.’
Also last year, CEVRO, a Czech institute based in Prague announced that it was accepting bitcoin as payment for tuition fees for three of its Masters programs in philosophy, politics and economics. Such a move demonstrates the impact and progress that the currency is continuing to make as more universities accept it.
Bitcoin Here to Stay
Eight years ago bitcoin made its debut to the world. Since then there have been many ups and downs with the digital currency, but one thing is obvious: it's still here.
As the benefits of the currency become obvious, Bendell seems to be correct in saying that private currencies are here to stay.
Images from Facebook/University of Cumbria and IFLAS.