New York preschool prefers Bitcoin over credit cards for tuition payments

Global Business

The list of companies that accept Bitcoin is growing and diverse. It now includes high end grocery chain Whole Foods, Virgin Airlines, online dating site OK Cupid and global charity “Save The Children”.

One of the latest adopters of the digital currency is a pair of Montessori pre-schools in New York that will take bitcoin as tuition payment.

CGTN America’s Karina Huber has more.

The Montessori school in Chelsea Manhattan charges roughly $30,000 a year in tuition. It doesn’t accept credit cards, but as of this June it began accepting Bitcoin as payment. It was a decision pushed for by the parents.

“If they request something, we try to appease them whenever possible and this is something that a few have asked for,” Marco Ciocca, founder of Montessori Schools Soho/Flatiron said.

Early adopters of the digital currency have done very well. $1000 invested in Bitcoin in July 2010 would be worth $35 million seven years later.

“At this point a lot of people are ten times, a hundred times their money depending on when they got into bitcoin,” Alan Silbert, founder of BitPremier said. “So people have a large stash of Bitcoin in a lot of cases so they don’t mind spending a little on tuition.”

The school isn’t making money off of Bitcoin. Montessori converts it to U.S. dollars which Ciocca calls that process is effortless.

“We’ve set up a merchant account with the exchange and so as soon as the Bitcoin comes in as Bitcoin into our Bitcoin wallet, it instantly converts to fiat U.S. dollars, so we have zero exchange risk because there’s really no float there,” Ciocca said.

The fees for converting Bitcoin are also lower than the fees associated with other forms of payment like credit cards and wire transfers. Another reason the school decided to adopt the currency is because of its heritage.

The Montessori approach to education, that supports self-directed learning, has been credited for fostering some of the biggest names in tech. They include Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin, who all attended Montessori schools.

Ciocca believes adopting new technologies like digital currencies aligns with the school’s values.

“I really think this is the future. Sooner, rather than later, you’ll be able to send these digital assets instantly when buying a piece of gum, a book, a car, whatever you want,” said Ciocca.

Victoria van Eyk on the future of digital currency

For a deeper look into digital currencies, and whether you should be investing in them, CGTN’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke to expert Victoria van Eyk from the Bitcoin Strategy Group.