Universities Embracing Blockchain Technology and Asset Class

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As blockchain technology continues to become more mainstream, colleges and universities are exploring new ways to help grow the cryptocurrency ecosystem by allowing students to use digital currencies as a payment service on their campuses. The appeal to higher education institutions ranges from a fear of being left behind on new and emerging technology to the desire to provide more flexible avenues of payment for its students. In fact, recent research conducted by Lendedu suggested that “36 percent of Americans age 18 to 24” say they plan to invest in bitcoin as an asset for the future (Brereton).

According to a recent article published in EdTech [1]:

[The University of Nicosia in Cyprus] told Forbes it expected the first students to use the bitcoin option would be those attending its online degree programs from countries where international payments can be slow and involve transmission fees that total 5 to 10 percent of the monthly tuition cost.

In other words—as worldwide, decentralized, payment systems—cryptocurrencies can be used by international students to pay tuition to higher education institutions outside of their home country—that is, without incurring the slow and often expensive transaction costs that are associated with traditional fiat [1]. Similar to the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, other campuses such as the Georgia Institute of Technology are allowing its students to load cryptocurrencies to their campus debit cards to pay for foods, drinks, and other items [1].

By and large, the cryptocurrency ecosystem is still in its infancy stages; therefore, it remains to be a widely a speculative and highly volatile asset class. Although it is difficult to objectively assess when or if cryptocurrencies will ever replace traditional fiat, it is exciting to see how a growing number of higher education institutions adopting this emerging technology to adapt to the needs of their students.

For more information, read the full article on EdTech.

References

[1] E. Brereton, “Cryptocurrencies Make Their Way to Campus, Bringing Flexibility and Risks,” EdTech: Focus on Higher Education, June 15, 2018. [Online]. Available:  https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2018/06/cryptocurrencies-make-their-way-campus-bringing-flexibility-and-risks [Accessed July 3, 2018].