by Nuno Menezes
Blockchain technology and its first use case, Bitcoin, is becoming progressively mainstream; there is no doubt about it. After many countries start to show their interest in developing their own digital currency systems, new companies and services are following the trend and are starting to accept Bitcoin as a payment method.
Now, the real estate and the commercial property development industry are planning to get their piece of the pie, and some companies already have plans in the making to integrate digital currency as one of its preferred payment methods.
In the Czech Republic, the real estate agency HOME Hunters in Brno announced it was starting to accept cryptocurrency for its services. The firm stated it was starting to accept Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. The Czech Republic is gradually adapting to this new trend now spreading around the globe and follows a similar path as other countries such as Japan, South Korea, and Estonia.
Companies like HOME Hunters firmly believe that digital currency is the future. The real estate agency focuses on sales and leases of real estate, and with this move, it becomes the company in the Czech Republic to do so.
By using digital currency in the process, the real estate company states that the commission can be paid into their crypto wallet without the need to shift to Czech crowns. Any transaction made with HOME Hunters will then be recorded on the blockchain and will also serve for easy traceability and transparency of the deal. They are also layering and preparing the whole registration process through the blockchain in case of deploying EET in the real estate sector.
The founder of HOME Hunters Jaroslav Kováč commented:
“Bitcoin, Litecoin, and other cryptocurrencies are the future of the world’s finances, and it would be a shame not to allow people to use this form of money today in the material world. Our clients welcome the opportunity to pay via crypto coins thanks to the simplicity and speed of the entire transaction, without the need to carry cash.”
Another company that is trying to get its slice of Bitcoin is The Knox Group of Companies. Headquartered in the Isle of Man, the company announced on September 5 it would be launching a residential and commercial property development in Dubai, with residences that could be purchased with Bitcoin. The Dubai venture is a collaboration with Baroness Michelle Mone, a member of the House of Lords and founder of the lingerie company Ultimo. Michelle Mone’s Design Company will be in charge of the apartment’s interiors.
The whole project, valued at $325 million, is expected to be completed by late 2019. The Dubai project is another one of those attempts to push forward Bitcoin forward into the mainstream. The company stated the 2.4 million-square-foot (22.3-hectare) property venture called Aston Plaza and Residences, consisting of two residential towers and a shopping mall, will be the first major real estate development that would be accepting Bitcoin as a payment method.
For the whole transaction process, the Knox Group selected the Bitcoin payments platform BitPay. BitPay already provides Bitcoin payment tools to companies such as Microsoft and Virgin Galactic, so Barrowman thought it could be the best option for the Knox Group as well.
There will be 1,133 apartments; 480 have already been sold in traditional currencies, and the remaining will be earmarked for bitcoin holders. The apartments are said to be going from 54 bitcoins or $250,000, one-bedroom apartment while two-bedrooms can be bought for 80 bitcoins, or $380,000.
Finally, a developer in London known as The Collective has offered the opportunity to pay rent for their shared living spaces with bitcoin by the end of 2017. As of September 4, tenants can pay their deposit in bitcoin for a place at the Old Oak, the world’s largest co-living development, in North-West London. The Collective have even pledged spot conversion, taking the entire financial risk of holding bitcoin, and will return the deposit in full.
The Collective’s chief executive and founder, Reza Merchant, stated, “The rise and adoption of cryptocurrency globally, particularly bitcoin, is a fascinating development in how people store value and transact for goods and services worldwide. With many savers and investors now choosing and becoming more comfortable with cryptocurrency, people will expect to be able to use it to pay for life’s essentials, including housing deposits and rent.”
After industry giants such as Overstock and Microsoft starting to accept payments in Bitcoin, many others have followed. The potential of Bitcoin is going far beyond the online realm and now jumps into new grounds that will push it further into the mainstream use.