Digital dollars to buy a house

REAL estate agents in Bendigo are sceptical over the use of bitcoins to buy real estate.

It was recently reported that a New York real estate broker had started accepting the digital currency for real estate transactions.

It comes a month after a five-bedroom Perth Hills home was listed for $1.4 million requesting bitcoin payment only.

The sale would make the property the first in Australia to be sold using the digital currency.

The bitcoin is a decentralised digital currency which was launched in 2009 by a Japanese programmer under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.

Unlike traditional currency bitcoins are not controlled or regulated by a central body and can be traded in online exchanges or "mined" by users of Bitcoin software who use computers to crack complex algorithms to confirm transactions.

Bitcoin has been subject to close scrutiny due to ties with illicit activity but demand for the currency increased by 5,000 per cent in 2013.

But agents in Bendigo remain sceptical about the use of the digital currency for real estate.

Agent Tom Isaacs from PRD said it was very risky.

“I think as a transaction for goods and services of minimal value it is probably something that has taken off and has a place in the market but for larger transactions using an unregulated currency is very risky,” he said.

“It is probably unsustainable in the long-run and I would be very surprised if transactions in Bendigo head in that direction.

“My understanding of the product wouldn’t lead me in that direction.”

Doug Lougoon agrees it is unlikely the Bendigo property market will start buying and selling in digital dollars.

 “With the way Bendigo transacts I think it is unlikely but I think you will find it may creep into some more advanced areas.

 “I think there are fairly few people who would put up their house in bitcoins, it is a complete juxtaposition, real estate is real, it is a very physical item, bitcoins for the vast majority of people are a nefarious currency.

“The people who have these properties must be 100 per cent confident they can use bitcoins.”

Jay Duval from Expert Real estate said it was a big gamble.

“You can look at it the same as floating something on the stock market,” she said.

“It can go up and down in value.

“If you like to gamble and you are someone who plays high risk stock on the market then you are going to like it but if you are a conservative bricks and mortar  person, which most of us are, you are not.

“It is very premature to use them.

“In good conscience I wouldn’t recommend them at the moment but in 20 years ask me again.”

Agent Darryn Mawby said it was too early to say how the currency would progress but he would not rule it out completely.

“If we did use it, it wouldn’t be for us it would be at the request of the owner.

“I probably wouldn’t recommend it at the moment as I don’t know enough about it to push it.

“It is too early to say what will happen, we will have to wait and see.”

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