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British university accepts course fees in Bitcoin

Gigaom

The University of Cumbria has become the first public institution of its kind to accept its fees in bitcoins – at least, for two courses that specifically deal with currency innovation.

Located in England’s scenic Lake District, the university counts among its many courses a Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership and a Certificate of Achievement in Sustainable Exchange, both offered through its recently-established Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS). For these two courses, it is trialling payment by Bitcoin, via a transaction service such as Bitpay.

A private university in Nicosia, Cyprus, has already said it will accept Bitcoin for everything from course fees to cafeteria meals, but the University of Cumbria is a public institution. According to Professor Jim Bendell, who heads up IFLAS and helped organize a United Nations symposium on crypto-currencies last year, the university is experimenting with Bitcoin because it believes in “learning by doing:”

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Spotify brings unlimited free music streaming to desktop app and web

Gigaom

After bringing free shuffled music streaming to its phone and tablet apps last month, Spotify on Wednesday announced unlimited free music streaming for its desktop app and on the web. Previously limited to users during a 6-month grace period, Spotify has now removed streaming time limits for users in all countries.

It’s still an ad-supported platform, so you’ll have to endure your fair share of advertising. But it appears that Spotify is succeeding in in creating a profitable balance between paying customers and ad-supported free listeners. That’s a good sign, when some other music subscription services like Rdio are faltering.

The timing on this is interesting as well. Beats Music is scheduled to launch its subscription service next week, with a huge marketing campaign that will include AT&T(s t), Ellen DeGeneres and even a Super Bowl ad. Spotify might be be trying to buy good will and offer…

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