Lancaster PhD student pays tuition fees with cyber money

Leander Bindewald.
Leander Bindewald.

A Lancaster-based university has set a new record as the first in the world to register its first fee payment in cyber money.

In January the University of Cumbria announced its plans to accept the Bitcoin for two of its courses – the first public university to do so.

Now, student Leander Bindewald has become its first student to complete a payment.

Leander, originally from Germany and now working for the New Economics Foundation in London, will be completing his PhD on ‘the role of complementary currencies in the new social paradigm of money’ at the university.

His payment is one month’s instalment of his tuition fees but marks a momentous occasion in the history of currency innovation.

It was arranged for him to complete the transaction on Thursday during a panel dedicated to new currency innovations at the Ouishare Conference in Paris, a three-day festival about the collaborative economy.

Bitcoin is an online currency and a revolutionary peer-to-peer payment system that already enables the international transmission of funds at an amount greater than Western Union.

Thousands of traders now accept Bitcoin across the globe.

The university uses the Bitpay platform to process any payments.

Prof Jem Bendell, director of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability at the university, was speaking at the conference.

He said: “I’m delighted Leander has joined the university to complete his doctoral studies and research currency innovation for sustainable development.

“Making his payment during the Ouishare conference in Paris is an important statement that crypto-currencies can be part of a broader shift in economic thinking.

“We need to harness currency innovation for the common good.

“That’s the starting point for our research at IFLAS.”

Prof Bendell added: “Leander is already working with me to design our new Certificate of Achievement in Sustainable Exchange, which starts at our London campus in October.

“The course is being launched due to the growing practice of currency innovation and the potential it presents for significant societal change.”