A property owner in East Melbourne has said they would be willing to accept Bitcoin as payment for the sale of their home in what Domain is calling the first potential property transaction in Australia using cryptocurrency.
The “digital currency” was launched in 2009, and has since exploded as a legitimately accepted online payment method. When it was first launched, one Bitcoin was worth a few cents. As from the beginning of this month, the rate had jumped to $9,200 per individual coin.
The way Bitcoin operates is on a decentralised, peer-to-peer network, meaning it is out of the control of government or any other central agencies. The anonymous and highly secure database records digital transactions, and prevents against “double spending” – the copying of a cryptocurrency file so that it could be reused multiple times – by automatically updating the details of a Bitcoin to its new owner once an exchange has taken place.
Considering how ubiquitous cryptocurrency has become, commentators predict it will inevitably penetrate the property market – a prediction that this potential East Melbourne sale looks set to confirm.
“I see cryptocurrency at the moment as like the early days of the internet dot com era,” the East Melbourne property owner told Domain.
“If [the sale] came down to two or three people, and both had their maximum borrowing capacity at a certain amount, and one has Bitcoin – because the banks don’t see Bitcoin as an asset – that could be something that could get them across the line.”
Although Consumer Affairs Victoria has already confirmed the legality of placing a deposit or settlement in a currency so long as it was mutually accepted, the potential sale poses logistical issues for the real estate agent. No doubt, if such transactions become more common within the property market, it will also pose a host of new concerns for government regulatory bodies.