Earlier in January 2017, Red & Yellow Creative School of Business announced that it would be accepting Bitcoin payments for the various courses, diplomas, and degrees it offers. The Red & Yellow business school offers various courses covering Management Studies, Marketing, Human Studies and Creative Production.
One of Red & Yellow's main differentiators as a business school is that it says that it prepares students for careers in the digital industry and how the digital future weaves into their careers. Along with this, the South African business school which offers both online courses and on-campus tuition, encourages its students, despite being a business school, to think creatively.
Rob Stokes, Chairman at Red & Yellow, says the idea to accept Bitcoin payments came as a result of some prospective students enquiring with the business school on whether they could pay with Bitcoin.
"Several people have been enquiring with us [Red & Yellow] on whether they can pay for courses using Bitcoin. We also know that one of our competitors is considering it," explained Stokes to iAfrikan.
Stokes is no stranger to the technology and digital ecosystem, especially in South Africa. In 1999 he founded the digital agency, Quirk, which not only became one of the largest agencies in Afrika but was also sold to the global advertising and marketing juggernaut, WPP, in 2014. Quirk, renamed to Mirum after the WPP acquisition, had assets such as startup incubator 42Engines, CRM and social media monitoring tool BrandsEye, at which Stokes also serves as a non-executive director.
"Red & Yellow was started in 1994. I wasn't part of the team at the time as I was still in high school. The aim has always been to teach business leaders to think creatively," said Stokes.
The business school offers online courses as well as on-premise tuition at its Johannesburg and Cape Town campuses. Stokes believes that, however, those who will pay for courses using Bitcoin are likely to be those enrolling in online courses.
"I can't confirm if anyone has paid using Bitcoin so far [since the announcement] but we have had enquiries. We are also likely to get more people enrolling in online courses paying using Bitcoin than we would for those enrolling to attend on campus," said Stokes.
What is also interesting is that the typical student to enroll at Red & Yellow is not just a professional or executive looking to further their career, but also some undergraduate students. Some of whom, as Stokes explains, come from universities such as the University of Cape Town or Stellenbosch University for various reasons.
2018 Trends Forecast
Given his experience in both the marketing and technology fields, Stokes also had some thoughts on what trends to look out for, other than cryptocurrencies, in 2018.
"I think that trust and how we think about trust will change. This will include how we demonstrate trust [digitally]," said Stokes.
Trust, among others, covers areas such as identity, both of individuals and organizations, as well as proof of work. One example of a startup co-founded by a South African Vinny Lingham, working on identity verification using blockchain technology is Civic. Civic provides individuals and businesses decentralized identity verification services through the blockchain, and one of the use cases so far has involved reducing the overall cost of "Know Your Client" (KYC) that financial institutions are required to perform.
The other trend, from a digital marketing perspective, that Stokes believes we will see gaining traction in 2018 is more and more businesses thinking about and re-focusing on conversion and user experience.
"The cost of online advertising is going up and this requires a renewed focus on conversion and usability. Businesses need to see returns on the money they spend on online ads," concluded Stokes.