A handful of universities across the world is currently accepting bitcoin for payments, with Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland and FPT University in Vietnam being the two most recent additions.
They join The King’s College in New York, the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, the University of Cumbria in the UK, and the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin in accepting cryptocurrency as legal tender.
Bitcoin is making headlines after its price skyrocketed from $1,911.64 per coin on July 16, 2017 to $19,203 six months later, with the price currently resting at $14,884.95. By the time you finish reading this, however, that price will change.
The boom has spurred a surge of interest in the emerging technology of digital currencies and assets. The total market capitalization for all digital commodities is nearing $1 trillion.
Lucerne’s decision to accept bitcoin came about in large part because of the cryptocurrency research being done in its own computer science department.
Lucerne won’t hold the bitcoin it receives. All coins received will be liquidated weekly, or daily if the 10,000 Swiss francs threshold is met, by its financial partner Bitcoin Suisse AG, which will bear the risk of bitcoin price fluctuations. In addition, bitcoin tuition payments will carry a 1 percent transaction fee.
“We currently prefer not to make any prophecies, but I can tell you that nine people have paid with bitcoin so far, roughly totalling CHF 12,000,” said Sigrid Cariola, head of corporate communications at Lucerne. That’s $12,349.80 in today’s exchange rate.
Lucerne does not expect bitcoin to become a popular payment method immediately, as it made clear in a press release: “Those most likely to avail themselves of this opportunity will either be already familiar with the concept of financial services and blockchain or interested in pursuing continuing and executive education opportunities in this subject area.”
Bitcoin has the potential to change the nature of money itself by eliminating the need for government-backed currencies. It also has the potential to greatly shift the concentration of wealth in society. However, to achieve this goal, many more institutions would have to follow the lead of Lucerne and the other named universities and begin conducting business using digital assets.