Bitcoin now legal tender for a college education

In Cyprus, that is. But don't worry, the digital currency works for the university's online courses too.

Cyprus, the international banking hub that suffered a major economic crisis in the past year, is now home to the world's first accredited university to accept bitcoin for tuition payments.

The University of Nicosia, one of the largest English language colleges in the Euro-Mediterranean region, says it will now accept bitcoin for payment of tuition and other fees. Bitcoin will be accepted in affiliate institutions as well, including St. George's University of London/UNic Medical School (partnership between the two colleges), study abroad programs and the university's online degree divisions.

The university is also launching a master of science degree in digital currency this spring. The degree is designed to teach the technical underpinnings of digital currency, how it will likely interact with existing monetary and financial systems and what opportunities exist for innovation in digital currency systems, according to the university. The degree will be offered online and on-campus to students worldwide. The first course in the degree, an introductory class, will be free as an open enrollment, MOOC-like course.

Cyprus and bitcoin have had an increasingly chummy relationship since this past spring when the country's banking system faced collapse. A €10 billion ($13 billion) bailout package approved in March that included a levy on the country's bank accounts led to a rush on banks by Cypriots anxious to rescue their money. In the aftermath, Cypriots looking for a safe haven turned to bitcoin, causing prices to surge and giving the four-year-old currency more credibility.

Thumbnail photo: University of Nicosia

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