Apparently a seller is prepared to do just that. A home in Southampton, NY, has been advertised for $799,000 or its equivalent value in bitcoin. It might seem strange to pay for something that has such a large physical presence with virtual currency, especially since this digital currency was only introduced four years ago and doesn’t have the backing of any central bank or government.
Bitcoin is created through “mining” which is a computing process, and it’s able to be traded online. According to the article in the Wall Street Journal, the seller of this particular property is also willing to take a combination of cash and bitcoin, with the value being determined by the exchange rate of bitcoin on the day of closing. Certainly the value of this current seat can fluctuate wildly. Over the past 12 months it’s been as low as $13 and has reached as high as $1,200. In just the past few days the value of this virtual currency has plunged due to Chinese regulators trying to restrict its usage, and experts have pointed out the high risks of dealing in bitcoin. Just last week the European Banking Authority issued a warning pointing out that these virtual currencies are at risk of being used for criminal activity.
In spite of this a number of businesses have announced that they will accept bitcoin as payment. For example if you’re thinking about doing a spot of space travel then Richard Branson’s company Virgin Galactic will accept bitcoin. Other companies accepting this currency includes okcupid.com, an online dating website, and Reddit.com.
The seller of the home in Southampton, NY has already made a small investment in bitcoin and has seen it appreciate considerably. The property was only listed in October, and the seller decided to add the option of purchasing in bitcoin just last week. Apparently one of the things that can be appealing about this currency is that there are fewer fees involved compared to traditional bank transactions. If someone were to buy the house using this option, then the seller has announced his intentions to hold on to the virtual currency as he intends to take the long-term view.
It’s not the first home to be marketed with this option, as earlier this month a mansion in Las Vegas was listed for $7.85 million with the owner willing to accept the virtual currency. It remains to be seen if this will be a growing trend, but it’s certainly an eye-catching marketing technique.