November 21, 2013
The University of Nicosia (UNic), one of the major English language universities in the Mediterranean, will become the world’s first to accept bitcoins for tuition. The university will also begin a new Master of Science course in Digital Currency.
According to the university those who wish to pay tuition fees in bitcoins, will be able to use an online merchant processing service or by paying directly to the university’s finance office.
“The intention of this initiative is to ease transmission difficulties for certain students and to build our own practical knowledge about this field, not to engage in currency speculation,” the University spokesperson told GeekWire.
Following the rising popularity of online commerce the University of Nicosia is starting the first Master of Science degree in Digital Currency. The idea is to give a whole variety of students from entrepreneurs to government officials with a better understanding of the technical underpinning of digital currency.
“While digital currency is a relatively new concept, currency is one of the oldest human inventions. What we aim to explore in this program is the likely development pathway of digital currency and give our students insights that they can bring to bear in their professional careers”, said Dr. Andreas Polemitis, the senior vice Rector.
The new Master’s programme will be taught in English, distributing both on-campus and online to distant students, and should begin in the spring of next year.
The virtual currency has recently been attracting a lot of attention from both users and policymakers. On November 18 bitcoin skyrocketed to an all-time high of $900 per unit on the Mt.Gox exchange. This is seen by some as people around the world increasingly betting on the crypto currency. The jump came during a hearing in the US where the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee is scrutinizing the virtual currency. Officials called bitcoins a “legitimate” financial service, despite past focus on the currency as a prime target for money launderers.
The University of Nicosia also proposes a policy framework for developing Cyprus into a hub for Bitcoin trading, processing and banking
Dr. Christos Vlachos, the Nicosia University Chief Financial Officer, explained the digital currency introduction:
“We are acutely aware that digital currency is an inevitable technical development that will lead to significant innovation in online commerce, financial systems, international payments and remittances, and global economic development. Digital currency will create more efficient services and will serve as a mechanism for spreading financial services to under-banked regions of the world. In this light, we consider it appropriate that we implement digital currency as a method of payment across all our institutions in all cities and countries of our operations”.
UNic, formerly known as Intercollege is the largest private university in Cyprus with 5,000 students.