First flat in country sold using only bitcoins

Estate agency believes more consumers will opt for use of cryptocurrency in everyday transactions

Office workers at Mister Piso in Tarragona, the estate agent dedicated to using bitcoins as legal tender (by ACN)
Office workers at Mister Piso in Tarragona, the estate agent dedicated to using bitcoins as legal tender (by ACN) / Alex Rolandi

Alex Rolandi | Barcelona

January 11, 2018 01:40 PM

In the southern region of Tarragona, the first flat in the country has been sold using nothing but bitcoin as legal tender for the transaction. A real estate agency, with its headquarters in Barcelona, is committed to using bitcoins as a form of payment in the buying and selling of property. According to Víctor Monreal, the executive director of Mister Piso, the company behind the deal, using bitcoins will accelerate sales and revitalize the housing sector. “Interest is growing,” he stated.

Cryptic currency for the tech-savvy

Indeed, popularity for the electronic cryptocurrency has been on the rise since its inception in 2009. So what makes bitcoin different from other forms of money? Apart from the fact there is no physical weight, as it is based on algorithms, bitcoin transactions can be made without involving middle men.

Although now the buying and selling of bitcoin is perceived as a way of getting rich quick, especially after the price of one bitcoin skyrocketed into the thousands in 2017, it was originally created as an alternative to the current financial system. Trading in bitcoins means circumventing the banks, essentially stripping them of their fiscal powers of influence in markets. Which is good news for people such as property buyers or sellers, commission can be greatly reduced.

An unstable market?

Bitcoin, like other, newer cryptocurrencies, is a strictly peer-to-peer trading system. The owner of the flat in Tarragona closed the deal for a total of 40 bitcoins. That might not sound like a lot, but bear in mind that one bitcoin is now valued at €11,218.56 (at the time of publishing). Essentially, the flat was sold for around €550,000. However, bitcoin is not set at a fixed rate. Last year, its value soared by %1500, but this can change overnight. On Thursday night, the price of bitcoin dropped by 13.5% after South Korea announced plans to ban cryptocurrency trading.

Mister Piso also announced that it has a second flat for sale which can be purchased using nothing but bitcoins. The 150 square metre flat, located in Tarragona, can be bought for the equivalent of around 450,000 euros in the virtual currency.

Changing times

According to the owner of the property, Anna Durango, the flat had been on the market for five years before she agreed to accept bitcoins as a way of payment, realizing the possible advantages of the cryptocurrency. “The flat is of a high value in relation to its initial price,” she said. “Mister Piso suggested the idea in order to streamline the sale of the apartment.”

The Tarragona office manager, Gerard Platero, explained that, for him, it is a more appealing way of buying and selling property. “If I saw a flat and liked it,” he said, “instead of paying and signing and having to go to a notary, I could make the transaction very quickly in the moment, according to the value of bitcoin, and all parties are happy.”

Everyday electronic transactions

It's a much cleaner transaction, and you do not have to have cash in the moment, you can have this bitcoin wallet and have something that is not tangible,” he went on to say, highlighting how commission is reduced tremendously.  “We are committed to new technologies,” he said, regarding the gradual increase of cryptocurrency in Spain as a whole. Indeed, the flat sold using bitcoin was not only the first to be done so in Catalonia, but also in the Spanish state.

Although it can be a complicated system to get one’s head around, especially for the less tech-savvy amongst us, bitcoin is becoming more accessible with the creation of so-called “bitcoin wallets” and apps to facilitate transactions. The only downside is that, in order to buy or sell using cryptocurrency, both parties must accept the medium.

However, the executive director of Mister Piso is convinced that more and more consumers will opt for digital currency as a means to pay for ordinary transactions, “from going for a coffee to buying a car.”