Being on the cutting edge of anything can be exciting, lucrative, and confusing. Moreso, cutting-edge financial investments can be equally exhilarating and fear-inducing. You might be hearing about a relatively new transaction and investment system called cryptocurrency. More specifically, you have probably heard of Bitcoin and, maybe to a lesser extent, Ethereum. There are multiple other versions of cryptocurrency (or “crypto”) out there, but what can you do with any of them? Do you have the option of buying property with crypto assets? Well, you can buy property with crypto, but you might have to clear a few obstacles to get what you want.
How Cryptocurrency Works
Unless you are bartering or paying for items with paper cash and metal coins, you are probably going to have to ask a bank or other financial institution to pay a seller for the goods you want in a traditional system. As Satoshi Nakamoto points out in “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” cryptocurrency is basically “digital currency” that does not have to flow through a financial institution or bank before you can exchange it online for cash or other goods and services. Instead of your bank or credit card company releasing your funds to an online vendor, you can pay a vendor directly with your crypto assets. You also directly and digitally transfer funds to friends with this system. The transaction is then recorded in an irreversible “blockchain,” which is a digital version of a ledger. This ledger is supposed to reduce the likelihood of fraudulent transfers because all transfers are public, chronologically ordered, verified, and permanent. Although all transactions in the blockchain are public, purchasers and sellers are reduced to cryptocurrency addresses in the ledger and remain anonymous. For many, this is a new way of thinking about money. New financial processes can be harder to use on the open market.
Buying with Crypto Assets
We have seen changes in how this nation handles money before. Switching the U.S. off the Gold Standard was met with pushback from many people. So, it’s no surprise that switching from cash to cryptocurrency transactions is not a welcome idea for all, either. If you want to buy property with crypto assets, you need to find vendors willing to take that currency. Easier said than done, but not impossible.
What Vendors Take Crypto Assets?
According to a recent report from Statista.com, only approximately 21,941 vendors worldwide either have a cryptocurrency ATM or take cryptocurrency as payment. These vendors range from sellers of retail and supermarket goods to skilled labor providers and many other vendors in between. You will likely need to dig extensively to find a vendor who sells what you want and takes cryptocurrency.
Can You Buy a House with Cryptocurrency?
Buying property with crypto can be a complicated process that can add a layer of frustration to meeting your goals. Yes, you can technically buy a house with cryptocurrency—but you should be aware of multiple potential pitfalls in the process.
You Could Have Trouble Convincing Home Sellers and Lenders to Accept Your Currency
Along with finding a home seller who is open to completing the transaction with cryptocurrency, you might have trouble finding other typical players in the home-buying process that are open to digital currency. Above, we mentioned that a function of cryptocurrency is facilitating online sales without involvement from banks and credit card companies. But what happens when you need financing from the bank to make a viable offer on a home? Cryptocurrencies are often uninsured and hard to turn into cash. Because of this, a bank might be less than willing to back a housing loan when you put crypto down for the purchase. And because crypto is volatile (see below), you might also have trouble purchasing a title insurance policy that many housing lenders require. However, if you have the funds, you may be able to work around these obstacles by purchasing the home without financing.
You Could Have Trouble Closing on a House if You Buy with Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency is volatile, meaning that its value does not stay constant and does not always increase. Using a currency of unstable value to close on a house can be a risky game of chicken until the home is officially in your name. On average, closing on a house can take about 49 days. Within this nearly two-month period, the value of your crypto could plummet, and your housing deal could unravel before your eyes.
Ultimately, you might need to search long and hard for open-minded sellers and lenders who understand the value of cryptocurrency. You might then need to draft a contract that can protect your home-buying efforts in an unstable crypto market. A skilled real estate matters attorney can develop the protective measures you need to help you safely buy a house with your digital currency.
Other Potential Pitfalls of Digital Currency
Because cryptocurrency is digital, it is potentially hackable and can be hard to store safely. Owners of crypto store their digital money in a digital “wallet.” You can usually install your crypto wallet on a personal computer or mobile device. If you lose access to your crypto wallet, your cryptocurrency is likely gone. And remember, this form of currency is often uninsured.
A Knowledgeable Attorney Can Help You Put Your Crypto to Good Use
When completing a hoped-for transaction seems hard or confusing, a good lawyer is often your best option for effectively completing the sale. At Blado Kiger Bolan, P.S., our lawyers have over 50 years of combined legal experience, and we get results. We bring high-quality services to our clients and integrity to the negotiating table. We are also here to talk and help you find the best and simplest solutions to your legal issues. We hope you call us or contact us online for a consultation.