The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the nation’s premier business schools, plan to accept cryptocurrency as tuition for its online blockchain and digital assets program.
The Ivy League institution’s new executive education program will accept coins such as Bitcoin as one method of payment. Due to start in January, the online course offered by the Philadelphia-based school costs $3,800 and is expected to attract several thousand students per year.
“It’s a program about blockchain and digital assets, we felt that we should talk the talk and walk the walk,” Guido Molinari, managing partner a Prysm Group, which is working with Wharton to develop the program, said in an interview. Wharton will use Coinbase Global Inc., the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, to accept digital-asset payments.
Over the years, there have been many university experiments with cryptocurrencies: Massachusetts Institute of Technology famously gave out Bitcoin to its students in 2014. Other colleges have begun letting students use crypto to pay tuition.
In May, the University of Pennsylvania received the largest cryptocurrency gift in its history, $5 million from an anonymous donor.
Wharton also has many notable alums actively involved in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, who graduated in 1997, has pushed the company, as well as his SpaceX, to buy Bitcoin for their corporate treasuries. He’s also been a driver of wild price swings in so-called meme coins such as Dogecoin, and was instrumental in pushing the conversation about reducing Bitcoin mining’s environmental impact.
Arthur Hayes, who started the BitMex exchange that pioneered perpetual Bitcoin futures, also graduated from Wharton. He faces charges that he failed to implement appropriate anti-money laundering protections on the exchange.
Kevin Werbach, who will be the main instructor for the executive education course, has been teaching about the fundamentals of blockchain and crypto at the school since 2018. The new course will go beyond the basics, into how to value digital assets, regulation and policy, and examine various case studies.
“Coinbase has 68 million verified users, any one of these users will benefit from this program,” Molinari said.
The school doesn’t have any other plans to accept crypto.