The meteoric rise of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology came as a complete surprise to the academic world. Universities and colleges were completely blindsided by this new field, scrambling over the last few years to create even basic courses on the topic. Even now, it’s hard to escape the feeling that many of these institutions aren’t completely sold on the idea of decentralized digital currencies and distributed ledgers. Perhaps the best evidence of this is that almost none of them accept tuition payments in BTC, ETH, or other cryptocurrencies.
There are exceptions, however. In this post, we’ll look at seven crypto-loving centers of higher education.
1. Financia Business School, France: Based in Paris, this small private university began accepting tuition payments in bitcoin in 2018 through a partnership with French cryptocurrency investment firm Coin Capital. Around a quarter of Financia’s students are from outside of France, and several of those are from countries without reliable access to international banking systems. Accepting bitcoin for tuition payments was the natural solution.
2. Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland: The Swiss have a well-established reputation for being ahead of the curve on all things financial, including the adoption of cryptocurrencies. In 2017, Lucerne University began accepting bitcoin payments for tuition in an effort to “disseminate knowledge on cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain, as well as its desire to gain experience in the practical aspects of this novel area.” The university doesn’t actually keep bitcoin, however, instead settling payments through a partnership with Bitcoin Suisse AG.
3. European School of Management and Technology, Germany: Based in Berlin, ESMT began accepting bitcoin payments for tuition in 2016. The private business school offers graduate and postgraduate business degrees, and provides multiple courses on blockchain and cryptocurrency related topics
4. King’s College, USA: Located in the heart of New York City, just a few blocks from Wall Street, this deeply Christian liberal arts college may seem like an unlikely hotspot for cryptocurrency adoption. And yet, King’s College is something of cryptocurrency pioneer, accepting tuition payments in bitcoin as far back as 2014.
5. University of Cumbria, UK: As part of an effort to “learn by doing,” in 2014 Cumbria University offered students in their Sustainable Leadership and Sustainable Exchange certification courses the option to pay their tuition in bitcoin. Although widely seen as a PR stunt at the time, the university’s Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) post-graduate program has gone on to made cryptocurrency and blockchain a key research area.
6. University of Nicosia, Cyprus: While many colleges have dabbled with cryptocurrency adoption, that’s not the case with the University of Nicosia. They’ve been all-in on the concept since 2013, when the university became the first in the world to accept bitcoin payments for tuition. The university offers multiple certifications in blockchain and cryptocurrency fields, as well as a Master’s Degree in Digital Currencies.
7. Red & Yellow Creative School of Business, South Africa: Pitching itself as the “most creative business school in the world,” Cape Town’s Red & Yellow is a private institution that has defied easy categorization for over 25 years. Keeping with their non-traditional approach to higher education, the school began accepting bitcoin for all degrees, advanced diplomas, certificates, and online courses in 2018.