Online Education Platform Skilljar Embraces Bitcoin

Nermin Hajdarbegovic
Jul 17, 2014 at 11:54 UTC
Updated Jul 17, 2014 at 14:50 UTC

Skilljar, a tech company that specialises in enabling third parties to deliver online training courses, has started accepting bitcoin payments.

Skilljar says its platform is used by hundreds of online instructors, who offer classes in a wide range of different fields, from yoga to programming. The instructors can now be paid in bitcoin using Skilljar’s e-commerce platform, alongside credit cards, debit cards and PayPal, with the cryptocurrency being immediately converted to fiat at the time of the transaction.

The company joins a group of other educational platforms that have embraced digital currency as a means to facilitate payments. As Skilljar CEO and co-founder Sandi Lin explained to CoinDesk, one of the chief benefits of the integration is that international students have the opportunity to pay for their education at a reduced cost. She cited the financial barriers within the global payments network, saying:

“We experience the pain of currency conversions on a daily basis in multiple ways, and [bitcoin] was an option that could help reduce that friction for a large number of our instructors.”

She added that bitcoin’s digital nature and international appeal makes it an effective currency to use in the case of online education, as well as other cross-border oriented business.

Bitcoin via Stripe

Lin said the integration of bitcoin payments was a simple task, since the company already uses Stripe for its payment processing. Skilljar simply integrated Stripe’s bitcoin beta programme into its existing payments infrastructure.

“The decision to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment was simple,” said Lin. “It was driven by instructor requests, ease of integration, and the international nature of our business.”

Lin added that in the future, courses focusing on digital currency could be launched on the Skilljar platform.

Bitcoin Screenshot - Food+Tech Connect

Skilljar client Danielle Gould, CEO of Food+Tech Connect, welcomed the company’s decision to embrace bitcoin, saying that the digital currency can help decentralise and democratise learning.

Funding education with bitcoin

Skilljar is not the first company to offer online courses that can be paid for bitcoin. Tech education startup Treehouse started accepting bitcoin last month. The company told CoinDesk that bitcoin was a perfect choice for its tech savvy user base.

Additionally, non-profit online education site Khan Academy started accepting bitcoin via Coinbase last August. The academy accepts donations in the digital currency and also happens to offer an online course on bitcoin too.

Online learning image via Shutterstock

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