In a German first, ESMT Berlin, a state-accredited private business university will accept bitcoin as a currency “for all payments” including tuition.
Announced today, the business school revealed that it is now the first German institute of higher education to accept bitcoin as payment for tuition and all other payments toward the university.
Hailing bitcoin as a digital currency that facilitates worldwide money transfers within minutes and without the need for a bank, the Berlin-based international business school underlined bitcoin as “the most well-developed blockchain application.”
In statements, ESMT chief financial officer Georg Garlichs opined that the acceptance of bitcoin was an inevitable consequence with the advent of the digital economy.
Integrating bitcoin as a routine method of payment is a logistical consequence of digitization. Especially for international transactions from countries without a well-functioning banking system, the digital currency offers great advantages through the immediate, practically free-of-charge transfer. This makes bitcoins attractive to us as a means of accepted payment.
Founded by a group 25 German multinationals and institutions including the likes of BMW, Bosch, SAP, Siemens, Lufthansa and Daimler, ESMT Berlin offers degree programs including full-time and executive MBAs, as well as a Master’s degree in Management. The school sees an endowment totaling 134.2 million EUR with earnings of 28.8 million, both as of December, 2015.
In deeming bitcoin as “the most well-developed blockchain application”, Christopher Burger, senior associate dean of executive education at ESMT stated that blockchain can help reduce transactional costs and providing P2P marketplaces. The press release underlined the senior lecturer as the school’s blockchain expert, who added that bitcoin’s underlying innovation also helps with the “individual marketing of personal data.” He said “This is a feature that offers the data owner an improved position when negotiating with the users of data,” adding, “especially in the age of big data.”
ESMT is only the latest among a group of institutions around the world to accept the cryptocurrency as a mode of payment.
In late 2013, the University of Nicosia in Cyprus proclaimed to be the first in the world to accept bitcoin. The announcement also revealed the addition of a new program among its curriculum, a Master’s degree in Digital Currencies. The following month saw a South African bitcoiner, Francois Rossouw, pay 1.68544 bitcoins (1055 Euros at the time) toward his MBA degree at the university, marking the occasion as first ever tuition payment for a degree with bitcoin.
January 2014 saw the University of Cumbria in England accept bitcoin for tuition fees, the first in the country to do so. Flinders University in Australia began accepting bitcoin in October 2014, also a first in the country.
More recently, Prague-based CEVRO, a Czech research institute that offers courses on Law, economics, politics and other studies, began accepting bitcoin as tuition for three of its Masters programs.
Images from Facebook/ESMT Berlin.