By Tiana Baur
“Bitcoin accepted.” A not-so-strange note to see anymore. Digital currency, or cryptocurrency, is hot and some of those in real estate are now using it to appeal to young renters. That means saying goodbye to mailing checks and hello to using an API that converts a digital currency payment into U.S. dollars. Yes, there are existing apps out there doing this. For instance, the app Coinbase, uses “the platform to manage relationships with their tenants,” by converting the cryptocurrencies and handling the middle man work.
Not only that, but sellers are intrigued by cryptocurrencies as well, giving an option to pay a piece of the pie with Bitcoin or other digital currencies. Some will even go so far as to only accept Bitcoin. That’s right – cash offers might even take a backseat in some unique situations. Fortune.com recently came out with a list of what the tangible value is for Bitcoin versus value amount in dollars. For instance, in Seattle (where MoxiWorks is based), 51.6 Bitcoin is the equivalent of $725,000. This varies by city and my state. We should add that, yes, there have already been closings involving digital currencies across the States.
Digital currencies like Bitcoin are getting major backlash because they’re A.) hard to regulate and B.) get hacked more often than not. Recently, tech giants Facebook and Google banned any ads related to cryptocurrencies. And although Twitter, Snap, and Microsoft still allow them, they might be jumping on the bandwagon soon as well. These announcements were extremely damaging to cryptocurrencies, causing prices to plummet, but some experts are saying that it might help them in the long run since these policies are a step towards legitimacy. The jury is still out on it.
The problem is, unless you’re an investor or are independently wealthy and open to taking on great financial risk, or are extremely mesmerized by the crypto movement, few sellers are going to accept it in replacement of cash and putting money in the bank. As with anything, there are early adopters, but there’s no way to tell if Bitcoin will succeed or bust and since home buying and selling are some of the largest transactions in someone’s lifetime, the risk is often not worth the reward.
For real estate, you might be able to use it in a few circumstances, but there’s a long road ahead before the industry accepts cryptocurrencies as the “norm,” with open arms and little suspicion. With skeptical daily chatter and constant negativity in the headlines, one thing’s for certain: cryptocurrencies need more time to mature to be taken seriously in our market and beyond.