Bitcoin Why These New York City Private Schools Are Accepting Bitcoin
“Do you accept Bitcoin?”
That’s the question Marco Ciocca, co-founder and chairman of the Montessori Schools, says he’s been getting over and over lately. The schools in the Flatiron and Soho districts of the city comprise what Ciocca says is the largest preschool program in Manhattan, and because of their location they have a lot of parents who work at “Silicon Alley” tech companies.
This month the school announced it would accept Bitcoin as a way for parents to pay the tuition, which runs $30,950 for the full-day program.
“We looked at the pros and cons of accepting it and decided that now is probably a good time because it’s starting to enter the mainstream,” Ciocca says. “It happens to be that we’re the first pre-kindergarten school to accept it as a form of payment.”
Some parents were skeptical.
“There were a couple that were like, ‘How could you do this? Between the exchange risk and its use for underworld nefarious purposes [it’s a mistake].'” Ciocca responded by pointing out that “many Fortune 500 companies accept it and it’s a misconception that it’s used for nefarious purposes.”
With a merchant account on Coinbase, the for-profit schools “instantly turn Bitcoin into fiat currency” when parents use it for payment, negating the risk that it would depreciate based on the cryptocurrency’s volatility.
Ciocca says that “the perception that Bitcoin may have been gained through illicit activities or that it represents some kind of underworld, dark web” was a consideration” since “we’re a school, which is wholesome and obviously deals with children.”
He and his administrative team decided that the potential benefits outweighed the cons, and so far “a handful” of parents have used it.
With a value today of nearly $2,700 U.S. dollars per Bitcoin, up from $880 in January, Ciocca says some parents who invested months ago are “in essence paying a reduced tuition.” Also, he says, “there’s really not much else that you can pay $30,000 for in Bitcoin.” (Buying a Tesla is, apparently, another way to spend a lot of the cryptocurrency.)
“It’s just really another payment option, Ciocca says. “If you don’t want to use it then by all means pay with a check—no harm, no foul.”