Local
articles | 06 February 2014

Bitcoin infostore to open in Cyprus

Valued at €620 on the open market, the bitcoin is gradually creeping into more services and establishments in Cyprus, while the authorities are still pondering whether to regulate the virtual currency as a in certain forms but not the trade of the Bitcoin itself.

To begin with, Neo & Bee LMB Subsidiaries will be opening a shop (a real one) in Nicosia in February and gradually branching out across the island to promote the virtues of the Bitcoin. CEO Danny Brewster told the Financial Mirror that the first branch will open on February 24 and will be branded as a ‘Neo public information store’. The company already employs 35 people and has hired services from a further 25 software developers.

The University of Nicosia that announced late last year that it, too, would accept fee payments using Bitcoin, has already been paid by an overseas student. “We thought of accepting Bitcoin payments as a facility for students from countries where money transfer is very difficult or too costly,” a senior official at the University told the Financial Mirror. “But our intention is not to trade in the virtual currency. As soon as we accept Bitcoins, these are converted to our local currency,” the official said. The university's chief financial officer, Christos Vlachos, said the institution, which has about 8,500 students enrolled,is the first in the world to take bitcoin payments.

Bitcoin is a cryptography based digital currency that advocates say is counterfeit-proof. Its value is determined by supply — which is limited by its design — and demand. Vlachos said that the university is also offering a new Master’s degree in digital currency, a field he says is the monetary equivalent of the Internet in its infancy. "It's the gold of tomorrow," he said. Vlachos said the Cypriot government should set up a regulatory framework to attract digital currency trading companies and boost the bailed-out country's foundering economy. The university plans to encourage the government to develop the country into a hub for Bitcoin trading, processing and banking. “Bitcoins have value because they are useful, they can travel immediately and they cannot be reproduced by fiat, by anyone. I sincerely wish such transparent and free protocols were available by voluntary consensus to everyone,” said Brewster.

Source: Financial Mirror

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