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August 3, 2021
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Romanian university allows students to pay fees in cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are becoming more and more popular with every passing day, and it is extremely encouraging to see that they are also being adopted across various sectors and industries for everyday use.

This is important, as one of the biggest criticisms of crypto has been that it cannot be used for making payments, buying products and services, or otherwise substituted for fiat money. However, there are now various areas where crypto can be used akin to fiat money, and this is also helping to increase demand for crypto. One of the most notable areas where this has been a success is in online gambling, especially since the beginning of 2020. There are now many online gambling sites and casinos which offer users the option to place their bets via cryptocurrencies, with many of them offering the choice between multiple cryptocurrencies as well. Thus, dogecoin gambling, for example, has become quite common, along with other popular crypto tokens, and this offers a good example of how a sector can embrace crypto payments. There has been a lot of encouraging news on this front over the last few months, with the latest coming from Romania, where a university is now allowing its students to pay their tuition fees in the form of cryptocurrencies.

This is the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu (ULBS), which will become the first higher education institution in the country, and possibly in the world, to offer this payment option. This option will be available for admissions for the new academic year, beginning in July 2021, and is the result of a partnership between the university and a Sibiu-based start-up called Elrond. Elrond is using a team of local researchers, entrepreneurs and programmers to try and improve existing blockchain platforms such as Ethereum, but by using average computers rather than the high-powered ones that are usually used for mining crypto, thereby attempting to make it more accessible and affordable for the general public to access crypto mining. Thus, payments made to the university will be done via Elrond or ELGD, the cryptocurrency developed by this start-up.

This is only the beginning of the university’s ambitions to harness the power of crypto and digital assets – it is also planning to improve and streamline its administrative processes through the use of digitalisation. The university’s Vice-Rector for Administration and Organisational Development, Professor Adrian Pascu, said in a statement that ULBS is more interested in the benefits of blockchain than in cryptocurrencies themselves. Universities are at the forefront of research all over the world, so it is important that the latest technological advancements are validated by scientists and researchers at universities. He also stated that Elrond was backed since it is a local start-up, and graduates from the university have been involved in its development, with this also being consistent with the university’s approach to support entrepreneurship. The current initiative is being used as a pilot project, and if successful, it will be expanded to include more students and more digital currencies as well. ULBS will convert the EGLD tokens it receives into Romanian Lei via a payment processor at no extra charge to the students, and this will also help it avoid traditional bank charges as well.

The feedback for this initiative has been extremely positive so far, with students extremely receptive to adopting this change, and the university will be able to draw proper conclusions once the admission deadline for the upcoming academic year has been crossed, as they will be able to gauge the proportion of applications that were made by using this option.

 

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