Have you heard of Bitcoin? Cryptocurrency that was one of the success stories of 2017. One bitcoin is now worth around £12,000, up from less than a penny seven years ago.
As this cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream, we think now is the time to look at how it is influencing the property world and how that could affect estate and letting agents in years to come.
What is bitcoin?
First launched almost a decade ago in January 2009, bitcoin is a cryptocurrency which is decentralised from the global banking system. Payments made using the system can be done without incurring any fees.
The total value of bitcoin is now in excess of $180 billion and there are believed to be over 16 million bitcoins in circulation.
The main benefit of Bitcoin system is that it is independent of any Government and traditional banks. It is clearly a growing phenomenon and one that represents a step into largely unknown territory in our increasingly technological world.
How is bitcoin being used in the property industry?
It may come as a surprise but bitcoin is already making waves in the UK property industry as forward thinkers look to adopt its hype and growing popularity to their advantage.
There is evidence of letting agents accepting bitcoin as a payment method for rents and deposits all the way back in 2015. However, the take up of this offer back then was likely to have been minuscule.
Fast forward a couple of years and the words bitcoin and property are becoming increasingly intertwined.
Now there are already a number of estate agencies that accept bitcoin payments from customers.
The latest development is that two properties have now been sold using bitcoin – which are believed to be the first property sales made via bitcoin in the world.
It is thought the HM Land Registry will record these sales as being made in bitcoin, but there is some confusion as to whether it will officially recognise alternative payment methods and cryptocurrencies.
It’s likely that as more sales are claimed to be made via bitcoin, the government will assess the situation and offer a formal decision on how bitcoin can be considered.
Bitcoin is unlikely to take over from cash anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean agents should ignore it. If more customers want the option to pay in bitcoin, then agents should facilitate this or risk losing out to competitors who do.