Using only bitcoin, 20 homes have been sold worldwide, and that number looks to get bigger. In fact, the Miami, Fla., real estate agent that brokered two of those deals, Stephan Burke, says cryptocurrency will make up 25-30 percent of real estate sales in five years.
One of Burke’s bitcoin-only deals involved the co-founder of a cryptocurrency website who bought a two-bedroom condo for $275,000. In a different deal, a bitcoin investor sold his mansion for $6 million (455 bitcoins).
Burke describes the buyers and sellers using bitcoin as very smart people who can see the future. “They’re focused on this world of intangibility. They’re more about everything not face-to-face but through their phone and their computer.”
Burke’s recent bitcoin-to-bitcoin transactions are different than his first cryptocurrency deal in 2014 where the buyer converted bitcoin to cash to buy the home. That is more common. This year in Dubai, the Aston Plaza & Residences sold 50 apartments for bitcoin and then converted bitcoin to cash.
Joe Onyero runs a British social media real estate platform, Properbuz, using cryptocurrency. He says why not cut out the middle men and deal in cryptocurrency? “Real estate has the most middlemen. If you are thinking about buying a property, you can’t do that in one day or one week. It takes time.”
By using bitcoin, buyers can record property titles through smart contracts on the blockchain. Propy is one company that does that. Right now, it’s involved in the sale of businessman Richard Hilton’s Italian mansion, which accepted bitcoin at auction.
With digital deals popping up in Miami, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, and other places, what about Greater Cincinnati? Loan officer at Prime Lending Ashok Ghildyal called three local title companies and asked them about the use of cryptocurrency here. None have been part of these types of transactions.
“I think it sounds like fun, but in my opinion it wouldn’t be a big part of the market here,” Ghildyal says. “Also, just because our laws don’t allow legal tender or recognize it as a major form doesn’t mean we are backward.”
But Miami’s Burke says while the number dealing in bitcoin may be small now, it’s rapidly growing. “There is a whole world out there and I have met them,” he says. “There are thousands and thousands of people who are very into this. This is the future but the future is here now.”