Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bitcoin transactions enter the real estate market

So far, the world’s first independent and decentralized digital currency, Bitcoin, has been mostly used for small transactions. There are pundits who predict that Bitcoin will never be able to make the leap from servicing small online transactions to the big markets, like energy or real estate. A Canadian Bitcoin fan wants to prove the wrong.

Twenty-two-year-old Taylor More is trying to sell his house in Alberta for 5,362 Bitcoins. The amount of Bitcoins required for this purchase is the equivalent of 395,000 US dollars. The offer to sell the house is listed on the website For Sale By Owner.

“My home is being traded for Bitcoins!” reads More’s listing. “Properties like this rarely come on the market and this one’s priced to sell in one of the most sought-after recreation areas of the Rockies.”

So far, the listing failed to attract buyers but it captured the attention of big media. CBC has interviewed More and he had the opportunity to tell the world about the advantages of the decentralized digital currency: “Because it has no central authority no one can freeze accounts. So people are seeing the beauty of it, especially considering what is going on in Cyprus with everyone’s bank accounts being frozen. This is a way to keep your savings safe”, he explained.

More has not received any offers on his house so far, but his decision to sell it for Bitcoins is a sign that the experimental currency has a chance to become widely accepted. Even if Bitcoins are not recognized as an official currency, there are websites which allow Bitcoin holders to buy electronics, web-hosting services, beauty products and even pizzas. An American company has developed a Bitcoin ATM and will install Bitcoin “vending machines” in coffee shops and bars across America.  
On the other hand, the US Treasury has expressed concern that Bitcoins and other digital currencies are used for money laundering and for financing illicit activities like terrorism. Zerohedge reports that FinCEN, the anti-money laundering arm of the US Treasury, is trying to make all Bitcoin transactions “borderline illegal” so, Taylor More is unlikely to sell his house to an American buyer. -

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