Billionaire Rick Caruso’s namesake real estate firm Caruso has said it will accept bitcoin as rent payment at its residential and retail properties.
The company said it is both investing in, and accepting bitcoin as a form of payment. It has partnered with Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange, in order to facilitate those payments.
Caruso validated his belief in the fact that cryptocurrency is here to stay during an interview on CNBC’s Power Lunch show.
“We believe that bitcoin is the right investment for us,” Caruso said. “We’ve allocated a percentage of what would normally go into the capital markets into bitcoin.”
Caruso’s portfolio of properties includes numerous luxury apartments, outdoor malls, mixed-use properties and more. In a statement, the company said that it is committed to bringing decentralized retail payment options to its guests via “uncomplicated, efficient, and safe transactions protected by blockchain technology.”
Caruso stressed in the interview that he believes bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will play “an important role in our collective feature”, adding that the partnership with Gemini will add “real value” to its guests.
“We envision a myriad of opportunities where we can better engage our guests and enhance their experience on properties like introducing blockchain-enabled rewards and enabling cryptocurrency payments,” he said. “Partnering with Gemini on consumer applications will bring endless options, but we also see a future for how this technology will bring people together.”
Bitcoin has seen its value surge in recent months even as some critics continue to preach against it, arguing that its volatility makes it an unsafe store of value. Bitcoin recently hit a new record high of more than $60,000 per coin, up from around $11,000 in October 2020.
Caruso is the latest in a number of companies that are accepting bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment, including Tesla, Morgan Stanley, and PayPal.
But as regulations continue to evolve in the space, less than 5% of public companies are likely to invest in bitcoin over the next 12 to 18 months, Daniel Ives, a Wedbush analyst, told Insider. Still, there’s a “growing shift for companies to accept this digital currency as a form of payment,” Wedbush says. “Bitcoin mania is not a fad in our opinion, but rather the start of a new age on the digital currency front.”