Buy Real Estate with Bitcoins? In Dubai, you can.
British entrepreneurs and real estate developers Michelle Mone and Doug Barrowman have begun offering units in their 2.4 million square foot buildings in Dubai…for Bitcoins. A studio apartment will go initially for the low, low promotional price of 30 BTC, while the more spacious 1-bedroom units will bring 50 BTC. The prices of the 150 units offered for Bitcoin payment are tied to the US Dollar, so they will fluctuate as the Bitcoin moves. The studio apartment was initially offered at $133,918—but that was when 1 BTC was trading at its high of $4,600.
At today’s prices, 1 Bitcoin is worth $3,850. No, wait: it’s $3,854. Hold on…it’s almost $4,000. Now it’s back to $3,850. It reached a high of $4,683 in August 2017. Bitcoin is somewhat volatile; you might say—this time last year, you could buy 1 BTC for about $600. Interested readers can find the history of Bitcoin prices online.
For anyone not quite familiar with the term,
Bitcoin (BTC) is a form of “cryptocurrency.” It first appeared in 2009, introduced by an anonymous person using the name, “Satoshi Nakamoto.” No one knows for sure who this person is.
Part of the appeal for many is that transactions conducted in BTC are completely anonymous; the parties are identified using a unique, encrypted digital “key, ” and the transactions occur online. The anonymity of BTC transactions causes a certain amount of anxiety to security experts around the world. Some might consider it to be the equivalent of numbered Swiss bank accounts.
We’re likely to hear more about cryptocurrencies in the future.
It’s not likely that we’ll see Bitcoin used to purchase real estate in the U.S. anytime soon, if ever. Large financial transactions, such as anything involving real estate, requires a detailed accounting of all the funds involved. A wealthy buyer can’t walk into the title company with a wheelbarrow full of cash—or a digital “wallet” full of Bitcoins—and expect to close escrow. A “cash” buyer must document the source of the funds to avoid any possibility of money laundering.
While the units in the Dubai luxury complex will almost certainly sell out quickly to wealthy cash (Bitcoin) buyers, those who hold Bitcoins in the U.S. will still have to settle for paying for their real estate acquisitions with good old dollars.