At least 10 New Yorkers are paying their children's $30,000 annual preschool tuition in bitcoin, according to Marco Ciocca, founder of "The Montessori," a chain of two schools in Manhattan's SoHo and Flatiron neighborhoods.
Earlier this week, Coindesk reported that the luxury preschool started accepting cryptocurrencies as payment for tuition. In a follow-up interview with Motherboard, Ciocca told us 10 families have paid or are planning to pay in cryptocurrency, and said the school began accepting payments in bitcoin, litecoin, and ether on June 1 as a response to the "numerous requests from parents to pay with digital currencies."
The Montessori promises to teach preschoolers "practical life activities," "self care," "self-expression," "language," and "sensory-motor development," including "learning to button, zip, and snap, take off and put on their own shoes, and successfully use the toilet" and well as "sweeping, folding, scrubbing, polishing, and setting the table." Admission requires a personal recommendation as well as an interview with the prospective student/toddler. The school boasts that graduates often attend some of New York City's most prestigious elementary schools.
Although the Montessori accepts three different cryptocurrencies as payment, the preschool has only received payment in bitcoin at the time of this writing.
"Parents who were early adopters are now able to take advantage of the appreciation of their digital assets and use them to pay for their children's education, something that will ultimately have a lifetime impact on their families," Ciocca said.
Given the cost of the preschool, families paying in cryptocurrency likely hopped on the token train early, or had tens of thousands of dollars to blow on magic internet money. Earlier this year, the price of bitcoin was around $900, but at the time of this writing it's closer to $2,500. Ethereum saw an even larger spike in price, going from around $10 for a single ether token to a peak of over $400 a few weeks ago.
Read More: The Motherboard Bitcoin and Ethereum Primer
According to the Ciocca, The Montessori opened up a Coinbase account for merchants that allows the school to accept cryptocurrency payments from families and automatically convert them into US dollars.
"As an institution, we recognize the efficiencies that these new digital assets bring to businesses and do feel that in the years to come they will become more and more commonplace," Ciocca said. "As a forward-thinking administration, we like to stay ahead of the curve and would not be surprised if the percentage of tuition paid in digital currencies continues to grow every year and becomes a substantial portion of our payments."