Don’t listen to your contrarian uncle who listens to late night talk radio when he says “bitcoin is a scam, it’s not even real!” I mean, yeah, it’s not technically literally real, but neither are dollars, right? It’s just paper that we all agree to pretend is valuable. (Crap, now I sound like a crazy uncle.) However fake or real it is, bitcoin is here to stay. People are paying their kid’s Montessori tuition with it, and you can go to an ATM and withdraw cash against your bitcoin balance. But more significantly, you can now use bitcoin to buy the safest investment of all: real estate.
Some real estate brokers have accepted bitcoin for years already. Possibly the first one to take the plunge was Bond New York, back in 2014. (That article is also amusing for the quotes from prestigious brokers refusing to accept bitcoin because “you can’t spend it at Barney’s.” Someone who would’ve sold a $1 million house for bitcoin in 2014, when it was valued at less than $1000, would now be sitting on between twenty and thirty-five million dollars of bitcoin.) But it’s only recently that bitcoin real estate transactions have gone mainstream. Now, not only do many brokers accept bitcoin, there are sellers who will only take bitcoin. While everyone was worried that the dollar was going to be beaten by the Chinese renmibi, it may have gotten bushwacked by imaginary hacker bucks. Anyway, let’s look at some of the places you can buy right now, today, with your bitcoin.
This boutique Miami penthouse condo features a “Euro-style kitchen” and “impact windows,” and has pretty spectacular views of Biscayne Bay. It’s valued at a little over half a million, but the seller is only accepting 33 bitcoins as payment. If you showed up at his condo with a briefcase filled with a half million dollars in cash, he would slam the door in your face. Right now, Miami is probably the leader in bitcoin real estate transactions, which makes sense when you consider that the US government recently cracked down on foreign buyers using shell companies to purchase luxury condos there. I suppose there’s not that much difference between paying a lawyer to set up a Cayman Islands shell company and paying a millennial to convert your dirty money into bitcoin.
If you’re sitting on a larger stash of bitcoin, you could buy this insanely spectacular $6 million oceanfront condo. It has 3600 square feet of indoor space, four bedrooms, marble floors, staff quarters, Miele appliances, and an elevator. There’s also a thousand square feet of patio space from which you can literally watch the sea levels rise. (Weird that the most popular place to spend your insanely volatile and possibly fake hacker bucks is a city that’s in such deep denial about the fact that it’s sinking that it’s probably too late to save it. That’s 2017 for you.) Also note that in the above Curbed article, which was posted just a couple months ago, on Halloween, it says that $6 million equals 934 bitcoin. Today, it would equal about 400.
To stay with the Florida theme, this 9500-square-foot Coral Gables custom-built villa with nine bedrooms, a swimming pool, and a basketball court, is on the market for $6.5 million or its bitcoin equivalent. At the time of the listing in August, that would’ve been about 1500 bitcoins; if the house had sold at that time, those bitcoins would now be worth about $22 million.
If you’re not moved by the idea of living in Florida, how about a 17 million British pound mansion in Notting Hill, London? The house used to be five separate apartments before a developer bought it in 2013 and converted it into a single luxury residence. It’s safe to say that this is the nicest home in the world that you can buy with your imaginary hacker bucks. Just like Miami real estate has the reputation of being a playground for illicit druglord money, London has become the main investment sinkhole for questionable Russian oligarch rubles; it’s probably no coincidence that bitcoin transactions have caught on in these cities first. If that means there’s a government crackdown in the future – and there probably is – maybe think about dumping some of your stash now, on some waterfront property.