Schools modeled after the pedagogy of Maria Montessori have long taken an outside-the-box approach to early childhood education that emphasizes creativity, problem-solving, and independence. The Montessori Schools of New York City are continuing this tradition by taking a new approach to student tuition: bitcoin payments.
Montessori Schools co-founder and chairman Marco Ciocca told Town & Country they made the decision after multiple of their “Silicon-Alley”-based parents asked him whether they could pay the $30,950 tuition with bitcoin. After looking into the matter, the school--which has campuses in Flatiron and Soho--decided to partner with Coinbase to become the first pre-kindergarten school to accept bitcoin. As he stated:
We looked at the pros and cons of accepting it and decided that now is probably a good time because it's starting to enter the mainstream.
A few parents were concerned about the decision due to the popular misconception that bitcoin is only used for illegal activities. But Ciocca treated the conversations as an opportunity to educate them about bitcoin, pointing out that many Fortune 500 companies already accept bitcoin.
So far, the school says a “handful” of parents have chosen to taken advantage of the opportunity to pay with bitcoin. Ciocca noted that with the recent rise of the bitcoin price, several of those parents who purchased bitcoin months ago are essentially getting a discount on their tuition.
For bitcoin to shed its unfair reputation as an asset and gain mainstream acceptance as a currency, it needs both national and local businesses to accept it as a form of payment. It is especially difficult at the local level to raise enough grassroots support for cryptocurrency that businesses will consider it worthwhile to begin accepting bitcoin.
What needs to happen for bitcoin to succeed as a currency is exactly what happened at the Montessori Schools. Enough customers politely asked the school whether or not they accepted bitcoin that the administration decided bitcoin payments would be an asset for their organization. Importantly, a few parents have taken up the school’s offer, which far too often does not happen when a business implements bitcoin payments. If consumers will consistently ask local businesses "Would you consider accepting bitcoin?" and then rewarding them when they do, it will not be long until bitcoin completes its journey to ubiquity.