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The Crypto Craze Continues

Cryptocurrencies are becoming a popular way to pay for high-end real estate

If you turn on the news, troll the Internet or stand around the water cooler, you’re likely inundated with talk of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are so exciting because they are relatively new and highly volatile.

Some analysts are predicting that digital currency is the future of the world’s financial system, while others believe it’s merely a trend that will disappear. Only time will tell, of course, but its extreme fluctuations make for some very dynamic investments.

At the time of this writing, one Bitcoin is worth $10,854.42 U.S. dollars. As such, many people are buying fractions of Bitcoins—investing $50 or $100 to get their hands on a piece of this pie.

Using Bitcoin in Real Estate

Now, you might be wondering how to pay for things using cryptocurrencies—you can’t exactly use it to pay for a manicure or your skinny latte (yet). But you can use it to buy household products on Overstock.com or a hotel room on Expedia.com. In fact, there are a slew of places jumping on this bandwagon, and you can check out all the participating companies here.

But one of the ways in which Bitcoin is being used that truly fascinates me is in—you guessed it—real estate. I recently read a news story about the owner of a $45 million mansion who is willing to accept Bitcoin as partial payment for his 9,000-square-foot home. He believes that purchasing brick-and-mortar real estate might remove some of the volatility when it comes to investing in cryptocurrencies.

Part of his logic? “According to current situation, if you buy the property with cryptocurrency, it’s difficult to identify the cost of the real estate because it fluctuates so much,” he said. “The government will have a hard time to tax or put a property value on the house you are going to sell.”

That’s an interesting way of looking at things—the value of the Bitcoins he receives for the sale of his home could increase or decrease almost immediately, essentially putting him in a position where he’s getting more or less for his home than he realized.

Now, there probably aren’t a lot of potential buyers in the market for a home with this price tag, but there are more millionaires as of late thanks to cryptocurrency gains. And these new millionaires (and some are even billionaires) are no doubt looking for ways to reinvest their gains—and old-fashioned real estate may be the ideal route to go.

A Whole New Playing Field

Clearly, converting large chunks of cryptocurrency into a less-volatile asset—like real estate—is a logical choice. And it’s happening more often than you think.

Luxury real estate agent Tony Giordano says he’s fielding more and more requests to use cryptocurrency to buy and sell property—and now asks his high-end clients if they would be willing to accept digital currency. Why? More options equals more buyers. This is especially true in the luxury market, where buyers like to maintain a low profile and avoid tax issues. Remember, cryptocurrencies are still largely unregulated.

As such, it’s also important to note that finding an escrow service that handles crypto sales (vs. traditional cash) is not easy because technology is, unsurprisingly, moving faster than government regulation. So you’ll likely have to convert Bitcoin into cash in order to buy a property.

Now might be a good time to dabble with cryptocurrencies to get a feel for the market. There’s a lot to learn about digital currencies (including that Bitcoin isn’t the only game in town), so do your research and start your journey with a small investment—$20 is enough to get your feet wet.

While you may not be in the market for high-end real estate (yet), if you play your cards right, you could easily join the ranks of the new crypto millionaires popping up all around the world. And if not, you’ll get some experience buying and selling, monitoring your investments and having fun daydreaming about achieving your financial dreams.

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