Bitcoin’s ascension into the mainstream financial world has done wonders for its value, but its spiritual home still resides in the minds of IT aficionados.

Walk into any development studio and you are bound to find IT staff musing over Blockchain, Bitcoin and all things cryptocurrency related.

With that in mind, Varna University of Management in Bulgaria will become one of the first tertiary education institutions to offer bursaries in Bitcoin.

In 2018, ten software engineering students will be awarded scholarships in Bitcoin - to the value of €1000 per semester. The University will also give their candidates the option of taking the scholarship in either euros or Bitcoin.

While the lucky candidates will land themselves a share of the valuable virtual currency, the University is also working on plans to accept Bitcoin as a payment method for tuition fees.

Prospective software engineering students can also look forward to new modules in cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology, as the University looks to pioneer the way forward in education of Blockchain technology.

From humble beginnings

The launch of their Bitcoin bursaries is a product of  the budding community of cryptocurrency enthusiasts at the University. Weekly seminars covering the world of cryptocurrencies led to the idea of Bitcoin bursaries and innovative courses on Blockchain technology.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, VUM digital marketing manager Omer Ilyasli said the student body is at the cutting edge of Blockchain development.

“At our School of Computer Science, we have number of students who are working on Blockchain technology. We have quite a community here and we host seminars from time to time. The decision to offer Bitcoin scholarship came after a "Introduction to Blockchain Technology" seminar.”

The launch of the bursary program is just the tip of the iceberg for the ambitious University. Ilyasli insists that the community could become an educational hub for Blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

“We think pioneers in this field will be hugely rewarded, so we want to be pioneers, both individuals, our organization and our country. That is why we also urged Bulgarian government and local authorities in Varna to turn Varna into a hub. We still did not get an answer from the authorities yet.”

With the prospect of a scholarship in the world's most valuable cryptocurrency and courses in Blockchain technology, the University hopes to attract some of the brightest young minds around the world.

The Bulgarian university offers full Bachelors and Masters degrees in business, software and hospitality, as well as an MBA programme.

Hopeful students looking to apply for their inaugural Bitcoin scholarships will have to meet normal entrance requirements, according to Ilyasli.

“The selection process will be done by academic commitee and they will select the students considering their interest in the subject and technology, and extra-curricular activities. But, first of all, all candidates should cover minimum entry requirements, such as high school grades and English-proficiency.”

Considering the Bulgarian government’s recent acquisition of Bitcoin through a criminal syndicate bust, the country could well be looking into developing the niche, but fast-growing industry.