Melbourne house on sale, vendor happy with part Bitcoin payments

Melbourne house on sale, vendor happy with part Bitcoin payments
Melbourne house on sale, vendor happy with part Bitcoin payments

A house in Melbourne’s outer east is on the market, and the seller is willing to accept part payment through Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency.

The transaction for 1411 Mountain Highway in The Basin, if settled through Bitcoin, could be the first cryptocurrency property transaction in Australia.

It comes as Bitcoin has surged past $US9,000 for the first time, less than a week after passing the $US8,000 mark, and taking its year-to-date rise to more than 850 per cent.

"The owner already has a bitcoin wallet and is fairly experienced in using the currency," said listing agent John Garnett.

The offer is part of a worldwide trend of the rise of digital currencies, and government regulators across the world are scrambling to set out clear guidelines for blockchain transactions.

Blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrency, is an anonymous, secure database that records digital transactions. According to experts, it could change the property industry.

The house has been built by Rob, who did not want his surname printed, Fairfax Media said. He is an experienced builder who buys, renovates and flips houses.

The listing says the “owner is agreeable to accept part payment in Bitcoin”.  

“I see cryptocurrency at the moment as like the early days of the internet dot com era,” Rob told Domain. 

He said declaring the property Bitcoin-friendly could be the deciding factor in someone’s ability to purchase the house. 

“If it came down to two or three people, and both had their maximum borrowing capacity at a certain amount, and one has bitcoin — because the banks don’t look at Bitcoin as an asset — that could be something that could get them across the line.”

The listing agent, John Garnett of Harcourts, said it was the first time he was about to handle a sale through cryptocurrency.

“We’ve got to be careful because the state revenue office will want the stamp duty to be paid on market revenue,” he said. 

Because of the dramatic fluctuations in Bitcoin’s value, the day of the transaction could be tricky.

“The way it would be is if someone was going to offer $10,000 in Bitcoin, then that would be $10,000 in Bitcoin whenever they pay that,” Rob said. “So if the market goes up or down or drops, that’s it.”

Consumer Affairs Victoria said it was legal for the settlement amount to be paid in any asset or security agreed between the buyer and seller, including Bitcoin. 

But the deposit part of the transaction cannot be paid in the form of Bitcoin due to the regulations around trust deposits.

The Australian Taxation Office treats Bitcoin as an asset, and requires a full record of Bitcoin transactions to be kept. 

The state government recommends buyers, sellers and agents seek legal advice to ensure they meet the regulatory requirements for the holding of deposits in the form of Bitcoin. 

While the property will not be the first to be offered in Bitcoin (that was a $1.4 million home in Perth in 2013) it is attracting huge attention.

Melbourne Bitcoin

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