An enterprise-run university has plans to become the first university in Vietnam to accept tuition in Bitcoin amidst debate in the Southeast Asian country over legal revisions that would allow the government to better manage the cryptocurrency.
Le Truong Tung, president of FPT University, announced through his personal Facebook page on Thursday that the institution “accepts tuition payment in Bitcoin,” though he added that the payment option is currently only available to foreign students.
Tung later confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the status is “official information” regarding the new FPT University policy, explaining that Bitcoin payments are a “feasible solution” for many international students at FPT University.
“African students, especially those from Nigeria, face difficulties in transferring money overseas to pay for their tuition,” he elaborated
The Facebook post attracted mixed responses, with many hailing the tech-focused university for its pioneering move, and others expressing their concerns that cryptocurrencies are still not recognized as a legal currency in Vietnam.
Some critics also worry that the policy will drive students towards the ‘high-risk investment’ of ‘mining’ Bitcoin.
According to Tung, the University considers accepting the cryptocurrency as a “transaction of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
“As a university that provides technology training, we consider it a must to study and research new technological advances and find ways to apply them in real life,” he said.
“These things are totally possible during this Industrial Revolution 4.0.”
Founded in 2006, FPT University, run by FPT Group, is the first university in Vietnam to have been established by an enterprise.
A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security.
As of Friday morning, Bitcoin was selling at US$5,946, or VND135.14 million, per coin. The cryptocurrency can be traded in amounts as small as one hundred millionth of a coin.
While Vietnam originally made Bitcoin transactions illegal, the government later approved a plan to complete the legal framework to manage the cryptocurrency in August.
According to the directive, relevant agencies are tasked with identifying the appropriate regulatory measures to oversee Bitcoin and other ‘virtual assets,’ by August 2018 and complete the legal framework to enact those measures by June 2019.