Vietnamese tech university to accept controversial Bitcoins for tuition fees

By Staff reporters   October 26, 2017 | 09:30 pm PT
Experts say the decision is risky for both the school and its students as Vietnam has yet to legalize the crypto-currency.

Vietnam’s top technology university FPT has raised eyebrows by announcing plans to allow students to use Bitcoins to pay for their tuition fees at a time when the country is still groping for ways to manage the virtual money.

Le Truong Tung, the university chairman, has confirmed the plan, saying FPT University will allow foreign students to use Bitcoins first.

Tung said in a Facebook comment following his post that the digital currency is a feasible solution for students from Africa because they always face difficulties transferring money out of their countries.


FPT University has raised eyebrows by announcing plans to allow students to use Bitcoins to pay for their tuition fees. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Hoa

In an interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Friday, he said Bitcoin is a technology product and as a tech university in the age of Industry 4.0, FPT sees it necessary to try using the digital currency.

But critics of the move say it may pit FPT against the government because Vietnam is yet to recognize Bitcoins as legal currency.

Others were worried that the regulation will encourage FPT students to spend most of their time and efforts mining Bitcoins, a process that experts have warned is very risky.

For now, Bitcoins will remain illegal in Vietnam, according to the central bank, but the government is looking to manage the virtual money through a new legal framework.

Several government ministries and the central bank have been tasked with drawing up such framework by the end of next year, and tax policies for cryptocurrencies must be finalized by June 2019.

Since news of this legal framework was released, Bitcoin has become more attractive in Vietnam, with computer component providers saying they have ran out of graphics cards due to the increasing demand for Bitcoin hardware.

As explained by Business Insider and Investopedia, the process of mining Bitcoins involves miners solving complex mathematical problems, and the reward is more Bitcoins generated and awarded to them.

Bitcoin’s value has been on the rise since early this year, hitting a new all-time high by breaking $6,000 last week.

Yet financial expert Nguyen Tri Hieu told VnExpress earlier that investing in Bitcoins at this time is a bold move because miners may face legal action or risk going broke as it is possible that the latest price rise in Bitcoins is a speculative bubble.

In late May, nearly $4 billion was wiped off of the value of Bitcoin in just four days after a correction that saw the cryptocurrency's price fall almost 19 percent to $2,260.

The central bank has warned organizations and individuals in Vietnam not to invest in Bitcoins or conduct transactions in the currency, saying they would be taking a huge risk with no legal protection.

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