Real Estate Brokerages And Retailers Worldwide Now Accepting Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
The rise of Bitcoin, a form of cryptocurrency, has piqued the interest of real estate brokerages. For interested sellers, some brokerages are now listing properties with the equivalent prices in Bitcoin. Across the nation, brokerages and clients are now exchanging cryptocurrency for properties. Real Estate Brokerages And Retailers Worldwide Now Accepting Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)
Bitcoin is an experiment for real estate brokerages looking for a competitive edge for their listings. Take a look at the brokerages who are paving the way to a cryptocurrency-ready real estate market.
Who Is Using Cryptocurrency In Real Estate?
Bitcoin usage is still in its initial phases and cryptocurrencies make up only a fraction of real estate sales in the United States. In 2017, Redfin reported about 75 listings nationwide accepting Bitcoin. This year, Realtor.com® has listed 37 single-family homes across the country accepting Bitcoin. The properties range from $114,000 or the equivalent in Bitcoin for a home in Kansas, all the way up to a Hawaiian mansion listed at $7,920,000.
Although real estate Bitcoin deals currently make up a small percentage of the market, brokerages who offer the option of Bitcoin operate in some of the country’s largest real estate markets. New York, Florida, and Texas have all seen cryptocurrency transactions.
So who is currently accepting Bitcoin in the industry? Good question. Though the acceptance of cryptocurrency within the market is still rare, the number of players is growing every day. Here are just a few of the trailblazers.
Listing agent Stephan Burke, of Brown Harris Stevens, reported that the seller of a 9,500-square-foot Miami mansion is accepting Bitcoin. The home is worth approximately $6.5 million. The seller has also reportedly said he will accept either Bitcoin or Zcash, another type of cryptocurrency. Burke had this to say about the transaction:
Industries, businesses, and careers are being affected by this dramatic globalization and modernization, and real estate is no different. It seems clear to me that banks and title companies will be doing everything in a crypto-recorded fashion within the next decade, and our transactions will eventually become faster — and safer — under this system.
A Clearwater, FL mansion, designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, is also available to be purchased with Bitcoin. Nehad Alhassan is marketing the sale of the 4,000-square-foot home. Alhassan noted that since there are so few agents working with Bitcoin, a close relationship between buyer and agent is vital. He went on to say:
I think the seller has to grasp and understand it, and be comfortable in doing the transaction with me. You have to have that trust.
Magnum Real Estate Group believes the use of Bitcoin in real estate is linked to a younger group of home buyers — those who have invested in cryptocurrencies and are searching for alternative forms of payment. Ben Shaoul, President of Magnum, spoke to CNBC about his company’s use of Bitcoin and the relationship of cryptocurrency to the overall global market:
I think the demographic of the crypto user is a younger millennial, but, that being said, you have a lot of people coming over from other countries, who are buyers from different places, who like to trade in different types of currency. Not everyone wants to trade in dollars or yen or euros.
According to Blooming Sky, a New York City brokerage also dealing in Bitcoin, the majority of transactions require cryptocurrency to be exchanged for USD. Blooming Sky works with a team of real estate lawyers to help their prospects navigate the Bitcoin exchange process. Bernard Klein, Co-Founder of Blooming Sky, explained the practice this way:
We will help clients facilitate transactions with [cryptocurrency]. Underwriters who review the sources of a down payment tell me they increasingly see transferring Bitcoins into cash as similar to transferring stocks into cash.
Blooming sky has also published a guide on how to buy a NYC apartment with Bitcoin.
The first real estate transaction involving Bitcoin in Texas was brokered by Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty, a real estate brokerage firm operating in Central and South Texas. The broker associate, Sheryl Lowe, who represented the buyer remarked on the seamlessness of the Bitcoin process:
I honestly couldn’t have expected something so unique to go so smoothly. In a matter of 10 minutes, the Bitcoin was changed to US Dollars and the deal was done!
What Else To Know About Bitcoin In Real Estate:
- The U.S. government may recognize cryptocurrency as property in 2018. This leaves some interesting loopholes involving taxes on real estate transactions.
- Not all Bitcoin transactions go as smoothly as planned. A Bitcoin investor made an offer on a luxury home in California that was contingent on the sale of his cryptocurrency. Although the offer was accepted, the buyer had to back out of the deal when he couldn’t sell his cryptocurrency.
- Redfin recently published an infographic showing the dramatic change in the number of bitcoins needed to buy the typical American home.
What Is The Future Of Cryptocurrency In Real Estate?
At this point in time, brokerages are still learning a lot about the role of Bitcoin in real estate transactions. The real estate brokerages dealing in cryptocurrency today are pioneers in the market and are paving the way for the future use of digital currency. The real estate industry has been heavily influenced by the use of technology over the past decade, and cryptocurrency will be no exception. Brokerages who leverage information on technology trends like Bitcoin will help determine its impact going forward.
Educating the public has been part of the job for Michel Triana, founder and CEO of Intelerit, a Fort Lauderdale-based predictive real estate analytics platform for U.S. investors. The vast majority of sellers still want payment in dollars, he said. For some portions of a deal, that may not change soon, Triana acknowledged.
That includes the title and escrow process, said Marlen Rodriguez, president of the HomePartners Title Services, an affiliate of the Keyes Company real estate firm. Major insurance underwriters only accept dollars, she said.
As long as buyers convert their Bitcoin or Ethereum to cash for the title and escrow process, there would be no problem.
Once the seller converts the digital currency to dollars to pay the title company, “there’s nothing unique about that transaction moving forward,” said Andrew Hinkes, a partner at the law firm Berger Singerman.
Pay The Necessary Parties In Dollars
Some attorneys, real estate agents, title and escrow agents will require you pay them in dollars. For that, you would need to convert your Bitcoin to dollars. Services like Bitpay or Changelly can convert the digital currency to cash.
What About Title?
The seller may have liens on the property or an unpaid mortgage. If a seller has $500,000 left on his or her mortgage, they would convert that portion of cryptocurrency into dollars and pay the mortgage. “The title work is exactly the same,” Kakon said. But, he added, “you need somebody who really understands cryptocurrency.” Because most title and escrow companies aren’t set up to accept Bitcoin, “They just might not be sure,” added Lifthrasir.
Recording The Deed
In the future, cryptocurrency supporters hope that recording deeds will be done with blockchain. The startup Propy recently launched a pilot program in Vermont to use blockchain technology to record real estate deals. Velox.RE created a similar program in Chicago’s Cook County.
Propy CEO Natalia Karayaneva said the technology could be replicated in South Florida. For now, deeds are recorded with each county’s property appraiser.
Fascinated By Cryptocurrency And Real Estate? Here Are A Few Resources You Can Leverage:
- Bitcoin Magazine offers a collection of articles from some of the top minds in the cryptocurrency space. We recommend starting with their article on how the blockchain will transform the real estate market. Subscribe to their email alerts to stay on top of the latest Bitcoin news.
- Inman’s technology section stays current on the latest Bitcoin trends in the real estate market. We recommend the article: 2018 real estate: Bitcoin bets, mega brokerages and VR.
Retailers Around The World That Accept Crypto, From Pizza To Travel
Earlier on, when Bitcoin (BTC) arrived on the scene, most cryptocurrency enthusiasts held on to their coins, as there were only so many places they could be spent. Nowadays, the list of marketplaces and retailers accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is significantly larger, providing crypto enthusiasts with more options for making real-world purchases.
After all, with recognizable organizations like Microsoft and Wikipedia now accepting Bitcoin as payment, conversations about Bitcoin and the power of cryptocurrencies are becoming more prominent.
Currently, several fast-food restaurants and coffee shops have started accepting Bitcoin as payment.
This will likely provide traction for mass adoption as cryptocurrency payments become increasingly commonplace in day-to-day purchases.
Granted, there are some jurisdictions that do not consider Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency as legal tender. Despite this set back, even big tech companies like Facebook are coming up with payment systems that mimic cryptocurrencies.
Here are some of the leading retailers, merchants and companies that will let you book flights and hotels, buy coffee or pizza, or even go to space with crypto.
Pay For A Burger In Germany With Crypto
The German branch of fast-food restaurant chain Burger King now claims to accept Bitcoin as payment for its online orders and deliveries, but this is not the first time Burger King has warmed up to Bitcoin as a form of payment.
The company, headquartered in Florida in the United States, had its Russian branch announce in 2017 that it would start accepting Bitcoin payments, but it ultimately did not take off. The global fast-food retailer reports an annual revenue of about $20 billion and serves about 11 million customers around the world. If all its outlets move to accept Bitcoin as payment, cryptocurrency adoption would inevitably spread.
Spend Crypto At Starbucks And Other Places
For crypto payments to gain traction, merchants need to implement systems that enable swift and easy cryptocurrency spending. Starbucks is one of the companies taking advantage of this concept through Flexa, a U.S.-based payment startup that is helping the cafe giant, as well as dozens of other companies, accept cryptocurrency payments.
The company developed an app called Spedn that enables crypto holders to make purchases with merchants like Starbucks. The company’s CEO believes that by making cryptocurrencies spendable in the mainstream, commerce will realize the full benefit of blockchain technology all over the world.
Crypto enthusiasts in Silicon Valley’s Palo Alto might already be familiar with Coupa Cafe for other reasons apart from its coffee and food. Through its partnership with a Facebook software developer, Coupa Cafe has been accepting Bitcoin as payment since 2013.
Reports show that the cafe received a steady stream of Bitcoin revenue as soon as they started implementing crypto payments — a clear sign of how eager its customers were to pay in Bitcoin. Coupa Cafe is among the few physical businesses in Palo Alto that accept Bitcoin at the moment. The cafe owners believe that their collaboration with the Facebook software engineer will create more traction in terms of Bitcoin adoption.
Buy Food With Crypto
With over 50,000 takeaway restaurants listed on its United Kingdom-based site, OrderTakeaways is one of the surest ways to get a pizza paid for with crypto delivered to your doorstep. The company has been accepting Bitcoin payments for online takeout orders since 2018. And other similar services include the Korean platform Shuttledelivery as well as German-based service Lieferando and its subsidiaries in several other countries.
Related: Blockchain for Food, How the Industry Makes Use of the Technology
Apart from online orders, crypto can also be spent at a regular Subway restaurants. As early as 2013, several Subway branches started accepting Bitcoin as payment. Now, for a fraction of a Bitcoin, a Subway sandwich can be purchased at select restaurants.
Pay With Bitcoin To Tour Space
Besides buying food and inexpensive, day-to-day items with crypto, a trip to space can now be bought with Bitcoin. That’s right. Richard Branson’s space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, started accepting Bitcoin as payment as far back as 2013. Although Branson’s predicted date for the first commercial flight has been pushed back several times, the company achieved its first suborbital space flight last year. Perhaps soon, people will be able to tour the moon on crypto’s dime.
Buy Jewelry With Bitcoin
A brick-and-mortar American jewelry company called Reeds Jewelers accepts Bitcoin for both its physical and online stores. What’s more, if a purchase is worth more than $25,000, the company provides free armored delivery for safety. Other jewelry companies accepting Bitcoin include Blue Nile Jewelry, Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry and Coaex Jewelry, to name a few.
A big advantage of purchasing large ticket items — like a diamond — with crypto is that it makes moving around large amounts of money cheap and effortless. Reports show that more Silicon Valley investors are buying jewelry with Bitcoin. Last year, Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry reported a 20% growth in crypto transactions, leading to a boost in the company’s sales. The company has been accepting Bitcoin since 2014.
Send And Redeem Gift Cards With Bitcoin
Gyft, a digital platform that allows users to buy, send and redeem gift cards, was one of the first merchants enabling cryptocurrency adoption to gain traction in the real world. The mobile gift card app allows Bitcoin to be used to purchase gift cards from several retailers, some of which include Burger King, Subway, Amazon and Starbucks. The company has also partnered with popular crypto exchange Coinbase to enable users to buy gift cards from their Coinbase wallets.
Travel And Pay In Bitcoin
If a traveler only has Bitcoin at their disposal, the following merchants will gladly offer services in exchange for it. TravelbyBit, a flight and hotel booking service, accepts cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Binance Coin and Litecoin (LTC) as payment. Also, major travel company Hotels.com allows you to book vacation stays using Bitcoin.
With a network of over 300 crypto-friendly merchants, the platform is one of the biggest supporters of crypto adoption.
TravelbyBit can also alert you to upcoming blockchain events in order to interact with other crypto enthusiasts from around the globe. Other platforms to book flights with crypto include Destinia, CheapBizClass, CheapAir, AirBaltic, Bitcoin.Travel and ABitSky, among others.
Use Crypto To Book A Five-Star Hotel In Zurich
If ever one finds themselves traveling to Zurich Switzerland, either BTC or Ether (ETH) can be used to pay for a stay in a five-star hotel in Zurich. In May 2019, five-star hotel and spa Dodler Grand announced that it will start accepting Bitcoin and Ether as payment.
The hotel has partnered with a fintech firm Inacta as well as Bity (a Swiss-based crypto exchange) to facilitate the payment and conversion of crypto to fiat money. The hotel boasts an amazing view of the Swiss landscape among other enticing amenities that come with a five-star hotel.
Norwegian Air May Allow Customers To Pay With Crypto As Soon As Spring
Travelers on Norwegian Air, one of the largest airlines in Europe, will soon be able to pay for flights using cryptocurrency.
In an interview with a local business newspaper, Norwegian Block Exchange (NBX) CEO Stig Kjos-Mathisen said his crypto trading platform had successfully developed payment infrastructure that will allow customers on Norwegian Air to purchase tickets with digital assets.
“Everything is ready to go from our side”, Kjos-Mathisen said in the interview. NBX aims to roll out the new feature to Norwegian customers sometime later this year, possibly as early as the spring.
Kjos-Mathisen is the son-in-law of Bjørn Kjos, the founder and CEO of Norwegian Air, who has been involved in NBX since it launched in 2019. The plan has always been to use the exchange to offer cryptocurrency support for airline ticket purchases.
In September, one of the oldest banks in Norway acquired a 16.3 percent in NBX for a reported $1.6 million. The exchange opened for beta users last September and is now accepting general customers.
Founded in 1993, Norwegian Air Shuttle is the largest airline in Scandinavia and the third-largest low-cost airline in Europe. It flies to destinations all across Europe and North Africa, as well as selected cities in the Americas.
Following extensive cost cuts, the company reported its best-ever quarterly result last October, with a pre-tax profit of 2.2 billion Norwegian kroner (roughly US$215 million). The airline carried over 37 million passengers in 2018, its highest ever figure within a single year.
It is unclear so far which digital assets will be supported on NBX or for ticket payments. The founder’s son, Lars Ola Kjors, is believed to have bought 3.5 million NOK ($404,000) worth of bitcoin (BTC) in 2017 before the cryptocurrency hit its all-time high of around $20,000.
Cryptocurrency Adoption: How Can Crypto Change The Travel Industry?
If government corruption affects the stability of the national currency, it’s only natural that citizens will turn to gold or other assets like Bitcoin (BTC) to invest their savings. It offers them a sense of financial control in an otherwise unstable market.
And it’s not just investing that is feeling the impact of crypto. This technology has the capacity to change the way we live. The freedom to travel and transact is a fundamental right everyone should have, and cryptocurrency adoption is all about providing freedom.
The world is becoming easier to navigate, and people are increasingly traveling to parts that are not equipped to deal with tourism. Often travelers can be caught out in less developed countries with no access to ATMs and a shortage of reliable ways to pay for goods. The use of digital currencies and smartphones could become the best solution.
Imagine not having to search for the best exchange rates or having to carry the local fiat currency around in a wallet. This is freedom. Paying for goods and services on a mobile phone — and even a watch — has been an increasing phenomenon with services like Apple Pay and Google Pay on Android.
According to research, the amount of people who own mobile phones around the world is on the rise. Ownership levels in developing economies are highest in Vietnam, where 97% of adults own a mobile device, although about 90% or more also own one in Jordan, Tunisia, Colombia, Kenya, Lebanon and South Africa.
Ownership is lowest in Venezuela, India and the Philippines, but even in these countries, about 70% of adults own a mobile device.
In the future, more hotels, restaurants and shops will be set up with crypto wallets on a smartphone or similar device to accept global payments in seconds — and this may happen in the developing world faster than the developed world.
The travel industry is one of the biggest industries in the world with around $1.7 trillion expected to be spent this year alone, making it the world’s second-fastest-growing industry. Now, crypto travel companies are making global crypto travel a reality.
As with all technology development, government and community help are paramount. The state government of Queensland in Australia is committed to technological innovation within the travel industry.
They have helped to make the Brisbane airport the first in the world to have 30 merchants accept cryptocurrency. In fact, Queensland is trailblazing crypto tourism with the regional town of Agnes Water, located at the southern end of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Here, travelers can find more than 40 businesses that accept crypto, allowing them to pay with Bitcoin for their accommodations, meals and even a day tour to the reef.
Additionally, travel giant Expedia is now back in the crypto game, having stepped out of it in 2018 when they stopped accepting Bitcoin payments directly through their platform. Now, they are offering cryptocurrency holders the ability to book their travels and holidays through the site and giving them access to thousands of hotels around the world.
Helping The Unbanked
The figures speak for themselves. Globally, there are around 1.7 billion adults who are unbanked, mostly in developing countries like India, Egypt and parts of Africa. Without a fiat bank account, people from these countries can struggle to participate in the global economy. This affects many of the developing countries and their ability to trade in the world market. Crypto adoption can help change that.
It is important to understand that while it is still in the very early stages of adoption, crypto is much more than just a speculative asset, but it also has the ability to be used in the same way as any currency.
However, problems do exist. For example, many businesses that accept crypto for their services will charge users a high premium, which poses a barrier to adoption. This must be addressed and changed. Crypto must be usable, which is why it is important to provide incentives for early adopters.
Visa debit cards that convert crypto into fiat are becoming more common and are helping to grow the ecosystem. Allowing users to use cryptocurrency anywhere that accepts credit card payments will broaden adoption and take off.
Enticing users into the space with incentives will also help drive adoption, and as with credit card payments, more competition in the marketplace will help drive down fees. As crypto becomes more widely used, it will become more attractive to those who have never experimented with it and will lead more individuals to “give it a try.” This can only be a good thing for the wider crypto travel industry.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Caleb Yeoh is the CEO of TravelbyBit, an Australia-based company that has been instrumental in driving crypto adoption in Australia. Its travel booking platform was launched with the help of Binance, and lets travelers book their flights and hotels with cryptocurrency and earn rewards by doing so.
Pay For Electronics And More With Crypto
For all the gadget lovers, there are a bunch of platforms that allow electronic purchases with cryptocurrency. Newegg, for instance, is an electronic retail giant that uses BitPay to process payments made with digital currencies. Even though one cannot get refunds for Bitcoin purchases, Newegg has a good reputation for quality items.
Plus, the company boasts its being among the first merchants to support cryptocurrency adoption. Other platforms for gadget junkies include Eyeboot (a platform that sells crypto mining rigs in exchange for crypto), Microsoft, FastTech and Alza (a U.K.-based online store that sells phones and beauty products).
An Ever-Expanding List
It seems clear that more retailers are warming up to the idea of accepting cryptocurrencies. There is still a long way to go before full adoption can be achieved, but many companies have nevertheless benefited from being early adopters. Despite the volatile price movements of cryptocurrencies, all evidence points to a future cashless society that uses digital currencies, and crypto is leading the way.
France: 25,000 Major Retail Stores To Accept Bitcoin In 2020
By early 2020, support for Bitcoin payments will be launched at over 25,000 sales points for 30 French retailers, including sportswear giant Decathlon and cosmetics store Sephora.
French crypto news outlet Cryptoglobe reported the development, announced during Paris Retail Week, on Sept. 24.
25,000 Retailers To Enter Economy 3.0 Via Bitcoin
The new cryptocurrency payments system is launching via a partnership between point-of-sale technology provider Global POS, the EasyWallet application and payments platform Easy2Play.
While payments will be made in Bitcoin (BTC), funds will be automatically converted into euros at the moment of sale.
Conversion services are to be provided by two partners, Deskoin and Savitar, both of whom are currently applying for Digital Asset Service Provider accreditations under France’s PACTE Act.
Alongside Decathlon and Sephora, well-known retailers signing on to the initiative include Boulanger, Foot Locker, World House, Intersport, Cultura, Maisons du Monde and Norauto.
Stéphane Djiane, CEO And Founder Of Global Pos, Has Given A Statement Proposing That:
“This is an important symbolic step in the evolution of payment methods in France. However, more than a symbol, what we bring to 25,000 outlets is the ability to safely enter the world of Economy 3.0.”
After Bitcoin, Altcoins Could Be Next
By enabling consumers to use their cryptocurrency holdings at physical retail locations within a legalized and regulated framework, the initiative aims to broaden adoption beyond the currently estimated 4 million French crypto owners.
While Bitcoin remains the sole cryptocurrency on the cards for now, Dijane has indicated the platform intends to roll out support for altcoins in the future.
In January of this year, a handful of tobaccos shops in Paris started to sell Bitcoin, notwithstanding mixed messages from local regulators and the central bank.
5,200 Tobacco Shops In France Now Selling Bitcoin
French crypto startup Keplerk has relaunched its service to accept Bitcoin (BTC) payments in over 5,200 tobacco shops in France starting from Oct. 10.
Service First Launched In January
After suspending the service in less than two months after launch in January, Keplerk says that its customers will be able to buy Bitcoin from tobacconists in coupons of 50, 100 or 250 euros, France’s top news channel BFM TV reports Oct. 10.
According to the report, Bitcoin payments in all 5,200 locations will be feasible through Keplerk’s partner Bimedia, which will provide payment terminals.
As previously reported, Keplerk’s initial launch in January 2019 of the service reportedly involved just six tobacco shops, while other publications reported there were as many as 24 shops participating in the program. At the time, Keplerk co-founder Adil Zakhar stated that the firm was planning to expand the project to 6,500 tobacco shops by February despite the reports that France’s central bank did not endorse the initiative.
Bitcoin Adoption Surges In France
Meanwhile, France is apparently seeing a surge in cryptocurrency adoption. In late September, Cointelegraph reported that over 25,000 points-of-sale of 30 French retailers including sportswear giant Decathlon and cosmetics store Sephora will start accepting BTC payments by early 2020. As reported earlier in September, the French unit of Domino’s Pizza launched an ordering competition with a prize of $110,000 in Bitcoin or cash.
On Sept. 12, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire claimed that French authorities do not plan to tax crypto-to-crypto trades, but rather will consider taxation when crypto is sold for fiat money.
Millions of Online Retailers Can Now Accept DAI On Coinbase Commerce
Coinbase Commerce, a platform that supports cryptocurrency payments for internet retailers, has added MakerDAO’s DAI stablecoin as a supported payment method this week.
This integration will let merchants around the world accept the USD-pegged stablecoin as payment for goods and services without Coinbase Commerce taking any extra fees.
Merchants can add a “pay with crypto” button to their checkout process, or choose to accept DAI only. Shop owners can also currently earn a DAI savings rate of 7.5%.
This could open doors to over 800,000 stores and 3 million web shops on Shopify and WooCommerce, as well as anyone else seeking a way to accept decentralized stablecoins as payment. It also introduces merchants to a growing segment of the cryptocurrency market, letting them bridge the gap between DeFi app developers and their own businesses.
DeFi (decentralized finance) is a popular movement sparked by cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies, bringing conventional financial services to the crypto sector.
Rune Christensen, CEO of the Maker Foundation, told Cointelegraph a few months ago that:
“DeFi is a new generation of products that are entirely transparent, where users can see exact cash flows while achieving greater levels of trust and security that can be audited in real time. DeFi also incorporates the global nature of blockchain and its advantages, making these more efficient systems with lower fees and higher yields.”
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